Philadelphia is 2-1 despite Ben Simmons playing a little under eight minutes on Saturday before leaving with back issues. Victories are great, but injuries are decidedly not great, especially when one of your team’s top two players is the one getting injured.
Still, a win is a win, even a shorthanded, one-point victory over the Orlando Magic, and it’s time to set our sights on the next game — Tuesday’s road meeting with the Detroit Pistons (2-0).
Let’s get the big thing out of the way first. As of the writing of this, Ben Simmons is doubtful for tonight’s game. The best bet might be to assume he’s out unless more clarity emerges before tip-off. On the other side, Detroit is possibly going to be without one of their top players as well, with Andre Drummond currently dealing with the flu and listed as questionable.
Detroit currently sports the ninth-best scoring defense in the NBA, but the two-game sample size against the Nets and Bulls doesn’t offer too much in terms of actual insights. Drummond’s absence would certainly open things up inside for Joel Embiid, who’ll be the focal point of the team should Simmons sit out. Detroit’s rebounding ability would be severely lessened in that scenario with Zaza Pachulia likely to see the biggest increase in playing time.
What the Sixers do will depend on the lineups that Brett Brown can put out on the court. Without Simmons, Philadelphia could really use Mike Muscala (EDIT: MUSCALA IS PLAYING Y’ALL GET HYPED) and Wilson Chandler to alleviate things, but it looks instead like we’ll see more Landry Shamet and more T.J. McConnell. Shamet has struggled with his shot through his first three career games, hitting just 26.7% of them, but he should work through those issues with more playing time.
The Sixers swept the Pistons last year, including a 97-86 victory exactly one year ago. At full strength, Philadelphia would have a strong chance at continuing the winning streak against Detroit. At less than full strength? We’ll see!
Sixers: Ben Simmons (back), Wilson Chandler (hamstring), Jerryd Bayless (knee), Zhaire Smith (foot)
Pistons: Andre Drummond (flu)
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
TV: NBA TV, NBC Sports Philadelphia, Fox Sports Detroit