KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- It could had been worse ... much worse.
The already banged-up 76ers were expected to lose Tuesday on a day they rested players against the hottest squad in the bubble.
The Phoenix Suns pulled away midway through the fourth quarter to take a 130-117 victory at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex. The Sixers dropped to 42-29 in a game in which all five of their starters from the season opener sat out.
Joel Embiid was sidelined with a twisted left ankle. Josh Richardson missed the game to rest. Tobias Harris didn't play due to a sore right ankle, while Al Horford was out with a sore left knee. Ben Simmons, who was already sidelined, was in Philadelphia, where he had left knee surgery on Monday.
Simmons had moved to power forward at the NBA restart. As a result, Shake Milton had assumed the starting point guard duties. That led to Horford being the reserve power for the first three seeding games before going back into the starting lineup after Simmons was hurt.
So on Tuesday, the Sixers had a starting lineup of Matisse Thybulle, Mike Scott, Kyle O'Quinn, Alec Burks, and Milton.
Burks led Philly with 23 points, while Raul Neto added 22 off the bench. Scott had 17 points, with nine coming in the first quarter. O"Quinn had nine points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Devon Booker finished with a game-high 35 points to keep the Suns' play-in game hopes alive.
The Suns needed a victory to remain in the race for the play-in tournament for the Western Conference's eighth seed. In addition to remaining undefeated through seven seeding games, Phoenix improved to 33-39 with one game remaining.
The Portland Trail Blazers, who opened the day in ninth place, took a 33-39 record into Tuesday night's game against the Dallas Maverick. Meanwhile, the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies took a 33-38 record into Tuesday's contest against the Boston Celtics.