The Pistons are off to their worst start in franchise history. The team has the worst defense in the NBA. The team is giving up more points in the paint than anyone in the NBA. They are the worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA. The team has the worst scoring differential in the NBA. They are one of only two teams without a win in the NBA.
But good news, everyone .... The Pistons are 0-0 against the Eastern Conference! Keep hope alive!
Game Tips at 7 P.M. EST
The lineup is going to look quite different than what we've seen so far this season. Corey Maggette is healthy and ready to make his season debut. Rodney Stuckey is suffering flu-like symptoms and will not play. Kyle Singler will start in Stuckey's place. Presumably, Tayshaun Prince will not play 39 minutes like he did Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Sixers came into the season with great expectations but have struggled out of the gate. Missing who will ultimately be your best player in Andrew Bynum, who has been out all year with knee problems, certainly contributes to that. And while Jrue Holiday has seriously stepped up his game this year but other than maybe Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes, nobody is helping out on the offensive end right now.
Eight players are averaging more than 20 minutes per game this season and of those Evan Turner is shooting 37.8 percent, Dorell Wright is shooting 35 percent, Jason Richardson is shooting 40 percent, Nick Young is shooting 33.8 percent and Lavoy Allen is shooting 36.8 percent.
They also rank near the bottom in points in the paint per game and getting to the free-throw line. Essentially, they are a jump shooting team not hitting their jump shots and whose wins have been thanks to stellar defense picking up their lackluster offense.
Keys to the Game
Do'n't let Jrue Holiday beat you - Holiday is doing a lot of great things so far this season, averaging 19 points and nine assists. But those assists have come at a cost -- a league-worst 6 turnovers per game. The Pistons have to play solid defense on Holiday, not letting him convert easy opportunities, and pressuring him into mistakes. If Detroit can keep Jrue in check they have an excellent shot at winning the game because they don't have any other playmakers on the team.
Go big or go home - Bynum is out and ex-Piston Kwame Brown hasn't played since Nov. 5 with a strained left calf (UPDATE: Brown is returning and starting tonight). That has left the Sixers literally and figuratively thin in the post, using 6-foot-8 Thaddeus Young as a starting power forward and 6-foot-9 Lavoy Allen at center with Spencer Hawes as the only big man off the bench. The Pistons could be stupid and go small to match up with the Sixers or they could be smart and use their size to their advantage. I notice that the Sixers give up less points in the paint than anyone in the NBA. Is that because teams go small against them or is that because it is the pinnacle of Doug Collins' defensive philosophy. Any Sixers watchers out there care to enlighten me?
Regardless, if the Pistons are smart enough to go big it could serve as another breakout game opportunity for Andre Drummond and a great chance for Greg Monroe to take control of the game. It also affords favorable matchups for Jason Maxiell and Jonas Jerebko. If I see Prince at power forward tonight I am going to shoot my television.
Take care of the ball - Brandon Knight has a lot in his game he needs to improve but nothing is more important than eliminating the needless turnovers. Especially with Rodney Stuckey out, Knight needs to take care of the ball and not force the issue. Philly loves to force turnovers and convert them into easy opportunities. The Pistons, and Knight especially, can't let them.
Questions of the Game:
How many minutes does Corey Maggette play in his season debut tonight? How man points does he score?