Philadelphia’s 107-93 season-opening win over the Celtics was not always aesthetically pleasing, but ultimately proved very satisfying for Sixers fans eager to see this expectation-laden squad in action. Tonight, the Sixers take the court for the first time on the road during the regular season, facing a 1-1 Pistons squad that will be once again be without the services of star forward Blake Griffin due to knee soreness and a hamstring injury.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, they could be shorthanded in the frontcourt as well. Joel Embiid and Mike Scott are both dealing with sprained ankles; neither player practiced Friday and both are listed as questionable for tonight’s contest. On the one hand, Philadelphia would love to have Embiid out there to square off against Pistons center Andre Drummond, who is sporting averages of 26.5 points and 17.5 rebounds. On the other hand, the Sixers are certainly better equipped this year to deal with an Embiid absence if the big man needs the night off. Both Al Horford and Kyle O’Quinn looked sharp in the season opener.
In addition to Drummond’s strong start, the Pistons have received outstanding production from their second-unit guards. Derrick Rose signed a two-year deal with the Pistons during the offseason and has made that decision look smart through two games, averaging 22.5 points and 6.0 assists thus far. He could see even more minutes tonight with starting point guard Reggie Jackson questionable due to back tightness. Rose’s backcourt mate Luke Kennard has been shooting the lights out in the early part of the season, hitting nine total 3-pointers to average 21.5 points per game.
Last season, Philadelphia took 3 of 4 games from Detroit, with the lone Pistons win coming in overtime thanks to Blake Griffin’s 50 points. I’m sure the Sixers are glad to not have to worry about a repeat of that one. These two teams faced off less than two weeks ago during the preseason, a game the Sixers won, 106-86.
Despite the victory Wednesday night, there were certainly ways the Sixers could improve upon that performance. Philadelphia shot just 7-of-29 from 3 and turned the ball over 17 times as a team. We’ll see if Brett Brown’s squad can refine those areas, while continuing to play the stifling defense we saw in the opener.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Detroit Pistons
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Philadelphia: Joel Embiid (questionable - ankle); Mike Scott (questionable - ankle)
Detroit: Blake Griffin (out - knee, hamstring); Markieff Morris (probable - back); Reggie Jackson (questionable - back); Sekou Doumbouya (out - concussion)