On Monday night, the Sixers and the Pistons will face off for the fourth time this season, and the second time since Friday. Games between these teams are as common as games between the Sixers and the Hornets at this point. Come on, NBA schedule makers! Give us some more variety in the first third of the season!
On Friday, the Sixers prevailed 117-111 despite Joel Embiid resting for the evening. Embiid will probably return on Monday — he’s listed as questionable, but since Friday’s absence was for rest and not an actual injury, it would be a surprise to see Embiid sitting out consecutive games for that reason.
With Joel out, Jimmy Butler went out and scored 38 points for the second consecutive game. Butler was 13-for-27 from the floor in that contest and 11-for-12 from the free throw line. He looked like the Jimmy Butler that the Sixers were really, really hoping he’d be when they made the trade. There have been comments and concerns about the Embiid and Butler fit that will need to be answered at some point, but for now Butler doing Butler things is an encouraging sign for the team and the team’s future.
With Embiid out, Philly got production from some bench pieces that don’t always give the team the kind of production they did on Friday, with Mike Muscala and T.J. McConnell combining for 28 points, though McConnell was a minus-17 for the game. (#SingleGamePlusMinusesAreJustRandomNoiseThough)
On the other side, Blake Griffin scored just 31 points on Friday, his lowest mark this year against Philadelphia. Remember that time he went for 50? And then that time he went for 38? Incremental progress! Griffin also isn’t enough on his own to beat this 76ers team, especially when the Pistons have Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, and Ish Smith all hurt right now.
Can the Sixers beat the Pistons again? Will you miss seeing these teams play every day now that the season series is ending? Will Blake Griffin continue his downward slide in points scored against this team? Tune in and find out.
Who: Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Well Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic