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Pistons vs 76ers preview: Who wants to start talking NBA draft?

Which set of heavy military vehicles will come out on top in this tank on tank battle.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Game Vitals

Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

When: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: FSD Plus

Exceptionally Detailed Analysis

4-34.  That is the combined record of these two teams who will do battle in a fierce yet mediocre encounter on Saturday night at The Palace.  The Pistons were saved the embarrassment of being the first team to lose to Philadelphia, with that nefarious honor going to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who succumbed to the heavy artillery barrage of the Sixers, 85-77.  Meanwhile, the Pistons enter on the back of an overtime heartbreaker in Boston, going down 109-102.  The twin towers had mammoth games, combining for 56 points and 21 rebounds.

The Pistons were right in the game at Boston, after falling behind by double digits at one point in the fourth quarter.  Then, as Josh Smith fouled out with a fair swag of time left in the game, Greg Monroe put the team on his antlers shoulders and carried them with a 29 and 7 game, including a marvellous 11-11 from the foul line.  While Monroe single handedly brought the Pistons back in the final stages, it was two clutch plays from other members of the squad to send it to overtime.  First, a beautifully executed inbounds play left Caron Butler with a wide open wing three, which he drilled with 14 seconds left on the game clock to tie the game at 88.  Then, as Boston scrambled for a winner, Jeff Green got dribble penetration and was certain to bank home a likely game winner until Andre Drummond came over with the weakside help defense to force the game to overtime.  However, the Celtics accelerated again, with triples from Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green creating an 8-0 run at the start of OT from which the team never recovered.

On a sour note, the mesmeric play of Brandon Jennings and the confusedly bad play from D.J. Augustin leading up to the game morphed into an absolute brickfest.  Both point guards combined to shoot a whopping 0-17 from the field, and each only walked away from the game with a free throw apiece to show for their efforts, although Jennings did dish 12 assists against only 1 turnover.

The Sixers are on the second night of a back-to-back, having gone down to the replenished stocks of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 103-91 in Philly.  Stolen Grand Rapids star Robert Covington led the Sixers with 21 points in 28:29 off the bench, on efficient 8-13 shooting and 3-6 from downtown, while Michael Carter Williams added 16 points on a decidedly less efficient 6-19 from the field, although he had 7 rebounds and 14 assists as well.  The Sixers now stand at 1-18, and are on the usual losing streak, although our losing streak is 10 times longer.  One has to question whether their collection of D-League talent such as Covington, Sims, Thompson, Davies and Sampson can withstand the elite astronaughtiness of Josh Smith.

Players To Watch

Pistons: Brandon Jennings

Of the 0-17 from the point guards, Jennings contributed a horrific 0-11 himself.  The 12 turnovers prevented serious lashings of criticism from sharp tongued fans, but too many nights like this will only waste the good start to the season he is having shooting the ball.  Carter-Williams could be problematic, with his length being able to contain Jennings defensively, while his size will potentially overmatch Jennings when he is asked to defend, so this could be a key matchup.

Sixers: Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Michael Carter-Williams

As stated above, Carter-Williams causes a matchup nightmare, as he has 5 inches on Brandon Jennings and should be able to get into the paint with ease.  However, he is an inefficient shooter, so giving him space on the perimeter may be the best chance to counter his penetration game.

Last Time We Met

On March 29, 2014, the Sixers won their first game in 27 tries. And it wasn't even close.  The Sixers romped it by 25, 123-98, with Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young each scoring 21.  Greg Monroe had 20 and 10 for the Pistons, and Rodney Stuckey and KCP chipped in with 17 and 16 respectively.

Score Prediction

This could be a 120-point game or a 320-point game.  In all honesty, I would not be shocked if we lost, and since I've predicted we'll win the last few, I'm going for some reverse psychology here.

Sixers 101, Pistons 91

Lineup Prediction

Drumroe definitely showed why it should start on Saturday.  Which is why it will probably not start on Saturday.  Y'know, because SVGIAFI.

Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Smith, Drummond

Sixers: Carter-Williams, Thompson, Mbah A Moute, Noel, Sims

Injured/In Doubt

Pistons: Meeks (back)

Sixers: Embiid (foot), Richardson (knee), Shved (hip flexor), Wroten (knee)

Community Question

Will there be more people in the crowd or game thread on Saturday night?