It doesn't get any easier than this, Pistons fans. Detroit will host the faltering Philadelphia 76ers tonight, the team's best chance of ending this brutal streak of losses.
Game tips at 7:30 pm ET
Philadelphia 76ers: 10-25 (6-13 road)
Detroit Pistons: 11-23 (8-8 home)
While our 11-game losing streak hasn't been fun to watch, being a Sixers fan has proven just as painful. Philadelphia has blown double-digit half-time leads in its last two losses, with a 58-44 advantage against Washington on Tuesday and a 60-49 lead against Toronto last night. The players and the management in Philly are not happy, and rumors about head coach Eddie Jordan's job security are starting to grow in volume.
Philly has the offensive weapons to hang with most teams in the league, but their greatest weakness is on the defensive end. They're 27th in the league in defensive efficiency, and it is their inability to get crucial stops late in games that has pushed their record so low. While fans may be quick to point at Iverson for the Sixers' deficiencies on D, they've recorded a better record with Iverson on the court than without (albeit by a small margin).
What does Philly do well? They're capable of efficient, balanced scoring, with six players averaging 12 points or more, two of them off the bench. That bench scoring comes primarily from the frontcourt duo of Elton Brand and Mareese Speights, who combine for 25.4 of Philly's 97.9 points per game. While Allen Iverson and Andre Iguodala's reputations precede themselves, the defensive focus on these stars has given guard Lou Williams a chance to shine, shooting 65% in the last two games and nearly 50% on the season.
Keys for Detroit
Manage Something from Three - Okay Kevin, you win, I'll put this back in. So what if this season's three worst perimeter shooting teams are also three of the worst teams in the league. It's a coincidence! Only New Jersey is worse than we are from 3-point range...
Defend the Paint and Watch the Fouls - Iverson, Iguodala and Williams are not great 3-point shooters. They earn their salary on their way to the basket, with Williams converting at a stunning 65% in the paint. If Detroit can prevent penetration and be careful with fouls, Philly will be forced to play a game they cannot win.
Justify the $100 Dollar Million Summer - Ben, Charlie, it's time for some tough love from the Payne Train. We practically handed you two our franchise this summer, and in this recent stretch all you've done is prove the naysayers right. If you can't get your s#!t together, you can expect a whole lot more stretches like this for the rest of your long-term contracts. You're far more important than even you may realize.
Question of the Game
We can either continue one streak tonight or start a new one. Which will it be?