Despite some brief in-game hiccups last week, the Philadelphia 76ers are thus far taking care of this easy portion of their schedule, racking up three straight wins to move to 15-7 on the season. Monday night’s win over Washington was an absolute demolition derby, with the Sixers crushing the Wizards by 45 points. Tonight could be a similar situation as Philadelphia takes the court against the Pistons.
Detroit is a league-worst 2-21 on the season, losers of 20 straight games. It’s just the ninth single-season 20-game losing streak in NBA history with the Pistons approaching the record of 28 straight losses, a product of the Process Sixers across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. I’m sure the league office has a Colangelo ready and waiting to fix this current situation in Motown.
These two teams met in Detroit about a month ago, with the Sixers winning, 114-106. Of course, that contest was an In-Season Tournament game, so who knows how the teams will react to much lower stakes now. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey characteristically led the way in that win with 33 and 29 points, respectively. In the midst of this rest-filled stretch and with the starters getting the entire fourth quarter off on Monday, the team’s stars should be able to go full tilt, if needed, tonight.
While the Sixers have clean injury report, the Pistons have a couple absences. Second-year big man Jalen Duren is out after spraining his left ankle last week. Marvin Bagley III missed Monday’s game against Indiana with an ailing back. Veteran guard Monte Morris has been out since November with a quad injury and has yet to make his Pistons debut.
2021 first overall pick Cade Cunningham is leading the way for Detroit across multiple categories, averaging 22.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.3 assists, albeit against 4.3 turnovers per game. Having missed most of last season with a leg fracture, it’s too early to make any definitive evaluations on Cunningham, but questions are starting to bubble about whether he can actually be “the guy”. I’ll say it’s probably hard to have your primary ball handler only shoot 31.6 percent from three on his career.
Veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic is second on the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game, making his season debut earlier this month after missing time with a calf injury. Bogdanovic is one of the more under-the-radar candidates for a potential trade deadline move by the Sixers, making $20 million this season with only $2 million in a partial guarantee next season. Marcus Morris and some draft capital for Bogdanovic could make sense for the Sixers if a bigger move doesn’t present itself.
Philadelphia obviously should come away victorious tonight. Let’s hope the Sixers don’t play with their foot too much and can maybe keep getting guys additional rests. I’m only too happy to watch extended Jaden Springer and KJ Martin minutes in the fourth quarter.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers at Detroit Pistons
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic