The Pistons are looking to win two in a row after beating the Orlando Magic convincingly on Tuesday. Philadelphia is one of the worst teams in the NBA with a high-flying but inefficient offense and a defense that is poor both on the perimeter and in the lane. They are a team looking to develop young pieces and maximize the value of tradable veterans. On both those scores this season has been nothing but a success. But looking at just wins and losses, this is a feeble season for the storied franchise. Still, with good young pieces, a quality coach, and foward-hthinking management, I don't think you'll find many in the Sixers fanbase complaining.
The Sixers match up better for the Pistons than just about any team in the NBA. Detroit is 2-0 this season against Philly thanks to a combination of the Sixers' lack of perimeter threats and lack of size that lets opponents feast on them in the paint. Philly, win or lose, is always trying to push the pace, and the faster Detroit can play the more efficient and effective their offense is.
The Sixers consist of two good players -- Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young, and intriguing up-and-down rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who has immense skill and perhaps even bigger holes in his game, and is being asked to do way too much on this rebuilding team. MCW started the year off blisteringly hot on both offense and defense but he has regressed. On the season, he is hitting just 40 percent of his shots, has no range and turns the ball over quite a bit. Because he plays major minutes and plays in such a high-octane offense, his numbers are inflated so he has remained in the rookie of the year race, but his play leaves quite a bit to be desired.
That being said, he has a slew of positives going forward. He's armed with good vision, if not quality decision making as of yet, and has the potential to be perhaps the best defensive and rebounding point guard in the NBA. Hawes, meanwhile, is a poor defender but is in a system that maximizes his long-range shooting ability and passing acumen while Young, an explosively athletic hybrid forward, is taking on more of the scoring load than ever before and is responding well enough that he'll probably be traded to a contender before the trade deadline.
Keys to the Game
Andre Drummond -- Drummond has absolutely beasted against the Sixers in two games this season. Dre scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in the first meeting between these teams and followed it up with a 11-point, 12-rebound, six-block showing in the second meeting. The Sixers simply don't have the size to handle Drummond, nor the kind of burly back-to-the-basket centers that can give him fits on the defensive end.
He had 11 points, 12 boards and six blocked shots in Detroit's 114-104 win over the 76ers on Jan. 10. In the teams' first meeting this season, he scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds in a 115-100 win Dec. 1.
Starting guards -- Brandon Jennings has also played well against the Sixers, but Philly's MCW has the potential to give him fits if he's not careful. Carter-Williams has quick hands and extremely long arms that he uses to pick off lazy passes or careless dribbles, both of which Jennings has been prone to. KCP, meanwhile, should have ample opportunities to have a big game. Philly is careless with the ball and gives up a lot of space on the perimeter.
Interior defense -- The Sixers scoring philosophy is pretty simple -- run like hell and try and get into the paint. The Pistons need to protect the paint from cutters and communicate so they don't get lost on rotations and in the pick-and-roll.
Question of the Game
Uhhhh ....... who's going to win the Super Bowl?