Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Tonight, the Sixers will face a team - the Detroit Pistons - that has yet to win a game this season. This should end well. Emphasis on "should."
Let's all forget about what happened two nights ago, shall we?
Sixers' head coach Doug Collins said that his team looked a bit sluggish in the morning shootaround prior to Monday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, and his charges promptly went out and found themselves down by 12 at halftime.
A 33-21 3rd quarter for the 76ers erased the deficit entirely, but Bucks' point guard Brandon Jennings (33 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) was simply too much Jrue Holiday (or anyone else, for that matter) to handle as Milwaukee was able to close out a 105-96 victory.
Fortunately for the Sixers, they're set to face a Detroit Pistons team that's still looking for its first win of the season.
Detroit almost picked up that victory on Monday when they led the Oklahoma City Thunder by 11 points at the start of the fourth quarter. A 17-2 Thunder run early in the final frame silenced the Pistons' faithful, and ultimately led to a 92-90 defeat.
With an 0-8 record heading into tonight, it's clear why Detroit ranks at or near the bottom in the league in a number of offensive categories. To the Pistons' credit, they have played a road-heavy schedule so far: Including tonight, seven of Detroit's first nine games will have been played away from The Palace at Auburn Hills.
Center Greg Monroe (who went for 21/12/11 against the Sacramento Kings a week ago) is having a solid campaign (15.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG), but he is one of only three Pistons who are averaging more than 10 points per night (small forward Tayshaun Prince and point guard Brandon Knight are the others).
For what it's worth, the Pistons (91.3 PPG) boast a higher scoring average than the Sixers (89.7 PPG), but it should be noted that Detroit also allows its opponents to score more than 101 points per game.
There's no way to sugarcoat it: These days, it's so cold in The D. (Warning: lyrics completely NSFW, but hysterical nonetheless).
Don't spend too much time feeling sad for Detroit - they are the home of rapper Big Sean, after all. And the Tigers have made it to the World Series twice in the past seven years. So there's that.
Player to Watch: Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond is a 19-year-old rookie who averages less than 16 minutes per game, but he just might be the Pistons' second-best player.
His numbers should be evaluated accordingly given the small sample size, but his Player Efficiency Rating (24.3) and per-36 minute averages (15.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1.7 steals) aren't too shabby.
A starting frontcourt of Drummond and Monroe is almost destined to happen at some point this season for the Pistons. The two haven't shared the court all that much this year (a little over 4 minutes total entering tonight), but if Pistons' head coach Lawrence Frank decides to use them at the same damn time against the Sixers, it'll be interesting to see what lineup Collins counters with.
Odds and Ends:
- The Sixers won last year's season series against the Pistons 3-1. Greg Monroe averaged 16.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in those contests, while Jrue Holiday averaged a mere 9.3 points per game.
- For the Pistons' perspective on tonight's tilt, the crew over at Detroit Bad Boys has you covered.
- Since proper lubrication is vital to the operation of a piston, perhaps Andrew Bynum can learn a few things from the Detroit medical staff and possibly return to action before the calendar turns to 2013.
- And for those of you interested in heading down to the Wells Fargo Center to see Sixers-Pistons in person, check out our friends over at TiqIQ for some great deals (including lower level seats for less than $10).
Sixers 95, Pistons 83. Tayshaun Prince isn't nearly the lockdown defender that he once was, so this seems to be the perfect opportunity for Evan Turner to bounce back from his disappointing performance against the Bucks (3-for-8, 8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 TOs). With both teams struggling to put points up this season, it's unlikely that either breaks the century mark.