Coming off of a double-digit Saturday matinee victory over the skeleton-crew Indiana Pacers, on Sunday, the Sixers will finish up the team’s 2021-22 regular season slate with a 7pm tipoff versus Rookie of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons.
The second half of a back-to-back, the Sixers couldn’t help but Sixers on Saturday afternoon, so of course all of the team’s starters played upwards of 30 minutes against their far lesser opponent. Joel Embiid played 37, en route to a 41 point, 20 rebound performance, while James Harden logged a whopping 39 minutes.
Interestingly, after Matisse Thybulle was ineligible to play in Toronto due to his vaccination status, head coach Doc Rivers opted to start Danny Green over him in Philly.
Doc Rivers mentioned continuity, both from the last game, and the possibility of a playoff matchup with Toronto as the reason Danny Green was in the starting lineup today— Josh Grieb (@JGrieb10) April 9, 2022
One would think that the Sixers’ starters are likely to play in this one, as the team’s seed is not quite rapped up as of this writing. Should the Sixers lose to Detroit, they will remain the four seed and play the Toronto Raptors. If they beat Detroit but the Celtics (currently tied with the Sixers at 50-31) beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, the Sixers would also remain in fourth. But if the Sixers beat Detroit and Boston loses to Memphis, the Sixers would vault the Celtics and move into the third seed, matching up with the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs. After Saturday’s game, Rivers didn’t commit one way or another as to whether or not we would see the regulars in the finale.
Rivers was non-committal on the team’s plan to sit or play guys tomorrow, says they’ve discussed it to death recently. Guess we’ll find out tomorrow how much they care about giving themselves a chance to get out of the 4-5 matchup— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) April 9, 2022
One would like to think of game 82 versus the 23-58 Pistons as a laugher — one where Embiid, Harden and Tyrese Maxey will surely be able to kick their feet up and watch the scoreboard during the fourth quarter, but I wouldn’t go counting your chickens on that one. When last these two teams met, the Sixers seemed to enter that game under that same assumption, and sleepwalked through an eight-point loss.
Provided Rivers goes with his full compliment of healthy players, a few questions come to mind heading into this one:
- Will BBall Paul get the backup center minutes once again?
- Will Danny Green continue to start over Matisse Thybulle?
- Can James Harden achieve some level of scoring rhythm heading into the playoffs?
If the subs play, then let’s just have some fun, folks. Reed will probably foul out in 18 minutes, but if he doesn’t, he’s a triple double waiting to happen (points, rebounds, steals). Give me some Charlie Brown Jr. minutes. Let Jaden Springer play. If not Jaden Springer, at least let the guy who stole Jaden Springer’s Twitter account play, who cares. Bring back Dakota Mathias, let him play. Try weird stuff. Give Sam Cassell the clipboard, then hand him Matt Cord’s PA so he can yell “NO GIVEBACKS,” which, as we know, is legally binding in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Just some ideas.
More important than anything, of course, is that everyone remain healthy.
Oh, and an MVP exclamation point for Mr. Embiid wouldn’t hurt, either.
When: 7:00 pm ET, Apr. 10, 2022
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic