Last time these two teams played, Blake Griffin dropped 50 points, and the Pistons needed every last one of them to beat the Sixers. This time, the Pistons are hoping for the same result without needing another 50-piece.
Also, make sure you wake up in time to catch this one - a 1 p.m. NBA game? On a Saturday? What the heck, NBA? How am I supposed to watch the Pistons AND Michigan State Football at the same time? Or DVR one or the other without spoilers? VERY inconsiderate of my personal time.
When: November 3, 2018, 1 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Things to watch for:
Andre Drummond vs Joel Embiid
These two have a history of verbal sparring on the court, and Joel has gotten the better of Andre for the most part. Last game, Andre tried hard (too hard) to get the better of Joel offensively, and it almost cost the Pistons a win. Andre has to guard Embiid capably, accepting that Embiid is going to make some of those 16-foot post fadeaways and there’s not much you can do about it. Andre also has to know that a lot of the postups that he uses to get involved in the offense are just not as effective against a guy with Embiid’s length and strength.
(Andre also has to accept that Embiid gets the benefit of a LOT of whistles, and that he probably won’t.)
Stanley Johnson vs Ben Simmons
Simmons, of course, did not play in these two teams’ first matchup, which was immediately seized upon as the secondary reason why the Pistons were victorious. Simmons is supremely talented but offensively limited - he doesn’t even consider shooting from the perimeter, and teams know it:
This is incredibly disrespectful lol they’re not even looking at him pic.twitter.com/KSjyEhUo6H— Jack (@Jack_Michael17) October 28, 2018
As the best perimeter defender on the Pistons, who will likely draw the Ben Simmons assignment, Stanley has to find a balance between not giving Simmons a long runway to get to the rim and disrespecting his non-existent perimeter range.
Dwane Casey’s rotations
Reggie Bullock is currently listed as doubtful for the game.
#Pistons’ Reggie Bullock (ankle) is “doubtful” against Philadelphia. He left twice in Brooklyn.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) November 2, 2018
This throws the starting lineup into question. Dwane Casey has started rookie Bruce Brown when the team was without Reggie Bullock twice before - opening night against Brooklyn, and in the second half of Wednesday’s Brooklyn game. Without Luke Kennard in the rotation, will Casey have Brown defend Markelle Fultz or Robert Covington in Philadelphia’s starting lineup?
The bench rotation offers questions as well - which one of Langston Galloway, Glenn Robinson III, and Jose Calderon will only play minor minutes against this Sixers team? How many minutes will we see Casey deploy the Pistons bench Death Lineup (Ish-Bruce-Glenn-Stanley-Zaza, currently averaging a +115 net rating in seven minutes of action)? Dwane Casey will have to discover that little something extra to beat a team as good as the Sixers.
Detroit Pistons (4-3):
Reggie Jackson, Bruce Brown, Stanley Johnson, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Philadelphia 76ers (5-4):
Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Joel Embiid