If there's anything positive for the Phoenix Suns to take away from closing out 2012 on the road against the Western Conference's most formidable team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's that their first matchup of the new year is bound to be against a less daunting opponent. Turns out it is. But don't tell that to the Philadelphia 76ers.
With a newly revived b-ball rivalry in NYC and the hoopla in South Beach hogging all the headlines, the Sixers are well poised to be the dark horses of the Eastern Conference. Led by budding all-star Jrue Holiday, this season's young Philly squad has ardently embraced coach Doug Collins' blue-collar style and consequently jelled into a playoff contender with a roster only slightly more stacked than the Suns. Holiday's crew comes to US Airways Center on the heels of the holiday.
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Wed., Jan. 2, 7 p.m., 2013