The 4-3 Philadelphia 76ers take on the Detroit Pistons(0-8) tonight at the Wells Fargo center. This will be the second game of a six-game home stand for the Sixers; in their first, Philadelphia lost to Milwaukee 96-105. Once again, the Sixers struggled to recover from a slow start against the Bucks. Sure, against the Hornets you can get yourself out of a deep hole, but against the better teams in the league that just won’t cut it. Jrue leads the NBA in turnovers, which isn’t the worst thing in the world (in the past five seasons it’s been guys like Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Rajon Rondo and Steve Nash leading this stat); but augmenting that lead with an eight-turnover performance against Milwaukee is no good.
Detroit has yet to win a game yet this year, to my surprise. The Pistons have a pretty strong frontcourt, with one of the best young big men in the game in Greg Monroe. He can be a bit of a defensive liability, but is capable of putting up big numbers even in the assist category. There's also life yet in Tayshawn Prince, although who knows how long he will stay locked in with the Pistons with the way they’ve been losing. Detroit also hopes to get some consistent play from rookie Andre Drummond. Collectively, the Detroit Pistons are in the bottom five of the NBA in points, rebounds, and opponents points per game. Don’t expect a lifeless performance though, it was just Tuesday when Detroit had a 17 point lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder, even if they did squander it and lose the game. Anyways, here are two keys to tonight’s matchup:
Keep the Pistons off the offensive glass. The Pistons have a lot of physical big-men aside from Monroe that will cause disruption around the rim. Guys like Jason Maxiell, Drummond, and Jonas Jerebko. Monroe is easily the best all-around player for Detroit, and so the Sixers will need to minimize his looks; if he’s getting offensive rebounds over Lavoy or Hawes, we will not be in a good situation.
Abuse Detroit’s backcourt. If the Sixers can really take it to the Piston guards, they should do well. The Pistons actually have a pretty decent rotation in Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, and Will Bynum, they just haven’t been performing well. None of the three are great defenders, but each can play a serious role offensively. If a guy like Nick Young refuses to play defense this game, he should get pulled; a guy like Rodney Stuckey will toast Young if that’s the case. Jrue Holiday has been great so far this season, but really struggled against the Bucks and their dynamic guard duo. We’ll need better play from Jrue, and need to contain the guards on defense and attack them on the offensive end. If Detroit’s guards get confident in this matchup, it really could be trouble.
Coach Lawrence Franks is one of the kings of having his team quit on him. It might not be time for that yet, but keep a lookout. See you at 7pm.
Co-written with David Donnella
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