The most noteworthy news leading into Monday night’s contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, is that Philly will be without dominant big-man Joel Embiid for the fifth consecutive game. And while we all hope Embiid gets back to 100 percent as soon as possible, it is certainly a sigh of relief for Detroit, who will be looking to cement themselves in the playoff picture. Of course, the Pistons already lost to the Embiid-less Sixers in mid-December so who the hell knows.
In case you’ve stayed away from the “Eastern Conference standings” Google search (who would blame you?), you might be surprised to see that Detroit currently sits at the No. 8 seed, even after their blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers. In order for Detroit to remain in the playoff picture, beating a Sixers team, without their best player, at home, is certainly a must.
When: Monday, February 6th, 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Consistency be damned. Detroit is a team that wins two, then loses three. Should the Pistons ever find a way to string five to six solid games in a row, you’d have to pinch yourself, because you’re probably dreaming. While Detroit has gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, the numbers do not suggest that they’re playing .500 basketball, which seems like a minimum figure to reach should they want to find themselves in the post-season.
Over Detroit’s last 10 games, they’ve boasted these rankings and statistics.
Detroit’s last 10 games
18th- Defensive rating (108.3), assists per game (21.7)
20th- Offensive rating (105.6), assist ratio (16.5)
21st- Three point field goal percentage (34.5 percent), opponents points in paint (47.4)
23rd- True shooting percentage (54.1)
24th- Points per game (104.4)
26th- Free throw attempts per game (19.9)
27th- Free throw percentage (70.4%)
As these rankings and stats show, in many key areas, Detroit ranks below the mid-level mark in the league. The defense; sub-par, the offense; stagnant and ineffective. Luckily for Detroit, they’ll be playing against the league’s worst offense in the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly currently ranks dead last in offensive rating (99.3), 29th in field goal percentage (43.8 percent), and 26th in points per game (100.5).
Hopefully for the Pistons, they’ll be able to skirt by with their own ineffective brand of offensive basketball, against and even worst team without their best player.
Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer, Andre Drummond
TJ Mconnell, Nik Stauskus, Gerald Henderson, Ersan Ilyasova, Nerlens Noel
There has been little evidence so far this season that shows Detroit will win a game when it feels like they need it most. As soon as you think they’ll start to turn the season around, they go ahead and lose to a Miami, Brooklyn, or Sixers team. Not tonight, not against this Joel-Embiid-less Sixers squad. Detroit is frankly better than Philly, at all positions, at all times.
Detroit 107, Philadelphia 95
Over/under 2.5 Ersan Ilyasova step-back three point field goal attempts?