The (2-2) Philadelphia 76ers will look to wipe the bad taste out of their mouths from their road loss in Madison Square Garden Tuesday. Philadelphia fell 112-99 to the Knicks last contest. The win was New York’s first victory over the Sixers since 2017, although the fact remains that Ben Simmons has never lost to the Atlantic rival. So there’s that. Tonight the Sixers host the winless (0-3) Detroit Pistons who may be facing even more hurdles than they typically face.
The #Pistons could play the #Sixers without their two best players. Jerami Grant (left-elbow infection) is questionable. First-overall pick Cade Cunningham is out while on assigment w/ the Pistons' NBA G-League team, the Motor City Cruise, to practice following an ankle injury.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) October 28, 2021
This would (in theory) represent a terrific spot for the Sixers to give their franchise player, Joel Embiid a night off. Embiid presumably didn’t play a ton of full-court hoops over the summer because the slight tear in his right meniscus required his attention. He opted not to have surgery on it, an indication the issue healed on its own heading into the season.
But in the season opener, Joel slammed knees with Pelicans’ (very) big man Jonas Valančiūnas. And the collision has caused an issue. The latest from ESPN Insider, Ramona Shelburne, reporting on “NBA Live” Wednesday:
“...there is a sense that maybe (Embiid) should sit a game or two to get that knee right because it’s a meniscus injury, it’s flared up after the knocking knees with (Jonas) Valančiūnas.”
Shelburne adds that Embiid is playing “because Ben Simmons is not playing.”
The team has not specified if the issue is in fact a flare up of the meniscus tear he dealt with last season. Embiid is currently listed as “questionable” for the game with right knee soreness, a designation he has had for several games now. More on that here.
The Sixers remain large favorites in this one. If they did want to sit their supermax player for a game, they should still have more than enough firepower to regain a winning record.
Unfortunately for Sixers fans, there won’t be the opportunity to watch first overall pick in 2021 Cade Cunningham, dealing with an ankle injury as reported by Keith Pompey. Former Process star Jerami Grant may also miss his revenge game spot.
But the good news is that Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Danny Green and Tobias Harris should have their way with an opponent who is beatable even when at full strength. Both Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris, former Pistons, can fight for the revenge game narrative here.
The key to this early portion of the season is keep things afloat while Ben Simmons is out of the lineup. But also sparing Embiid while he may be ailing. It was clear in the loss to the Knicks how much they miss the defensive stalwart in Simmons. There were even some chants at MSG of “where’s Ben Simmons?” But I’m wondering which fan base wanted him out there more.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Detroit Pistons
When: 7:00 pm ET, October 28, 2021
Where: Wells Fargo Center, South Philadelphia
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic