Both teams were on a second game of a back-to-back, but it was a fast paced game, with both teams wanting to get out on the break. The Pistons were without Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose due to load management. Conversely, the 76ers — the number one seed in the Eastern Conference — were at full strength.
Detroit led by a bucket at the half, however Philadelphia took control in the third quarter but never pulled away. Joel Embiid manned the paint on both ends with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and his usual rock solid defense. Dear friend of the program Tobias Harris continued his fine season with 17 points and 3-of-5 from downtown. Ben Simmons was a handful as well, scoring 20 points on just seven shots in what seemed like an effortless evening for the All-Star point forward. The supporting cast of Seth Curry, Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz hit their share of perimeter daggers.
The Pistons’ bench was active, unselfish and accurate in this one. They accounted for 55 points, with Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhailiuk leading the way with 15 and 13 respectively. Rookie Isaiah Stewart scored eight but more importantly he made Embiid work for his money. Josh Jackson and rookie Saben Lee were positives as well.
After Jerami Grant drilled a tough three-pointer (only his third field goal of the game) to bring Detroit to within two with under 30 seconds left, the 76ers hit 4-of-4 from the foul line to ice the game.
Delon’s stat line is a pretty nice one, though I question his shot selection at times. Despite that, Detroit would probably like to see Delon look more for his shot in the paint instead of mostly driving with the intent to pass.
Nine points on four shots for Wayne in the opening quarter, despite the Philly defense playing him like he’s Ray Allen. Overall, Wayne was a sniper with four treys in six tries in 28 minutes. He didn’t get many good looks during his fourth quarter time — credit the 76ers’ scheme.
With Blake getting the off night, Saddiq got the start and played fine in 13 first half minutes. Ben Simmons, who’s brute strength moves most everyone off him in the paint, didn’t budge Saddiq in an deliberate first half drive. Saddiq held his own and Ben missed the shot in the paint.
Grant played the whole first quarter and was 2-of-8, but nearly all were quality looks that he should be taking without hesitation anyway. Jerami did not score his third field goal until the end of the fourth. It was not his night shooting the pill, but still played his menacing defense.
Mason was abused by Embiid early and often, but Embiid is a Hall of Famer so what can you say. Overall though, Mason wasn’t his usual wily self with some careless play on both ends. Largely ineffective in 19 minutes. Also, he fouled out for the fourth straight game.
Papa Thump pretty much undressed Dwight Howard while battling for a rebound in the second quarter.
Dwight Howard got his shorts ripped but still got called for the foul— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 24, 2021
Then he got a tech pic.twitter.com/yNHT3MY0Jm
When Embiid and Stewart matched up, we had another battle.
Joel Embiid will not forget Isaiah Stewart's name pic.twitter.com/e0MDKxYCXG— Beef Stew Fan Club (@club_beef) January 24, 2021
Papa Thump was solid tonight. Again. It’s tough to move him very much and his activity and relentlessness make up for his lack of technique.
The second-year forward scored eight points in his first eight minutes. He cut smartly and finished strongly. His second half play left a lot to be desired. He made good plays to get to the hoop, but finishing was a different story. Baby steps for the youngster.
Saben was aggressive and probing in his 12 minutes of action, and he didn’t get caught in no man’s land much if at all. His pressure on the ball was needed. The guy belongs and needs more consistent minutes.
Svi made good things happen in the first half in limited minutes. After the break, he was given a longer leash and he took advantage with several long bombs and helped with ball movement. Svi did a lot in his 18 minutes, always with his nose in the action. Svi needs to play consistent minutes. He is too talented and plays too hard not to be a rotation guy in this league.
Josh was fantastic in the second half (17 minutes) with his shot making, creativity and passing. He seems to go 100 miles an hour all the time, which is nice but sometimes gets him in trouble. Josh needs to be a big minutes guy for this team because he’s so valuable on both ends. His athleticism is something else to watch.
With both Plumlee and Papa Thump with three fouls each in the first half, Okafor’s name was called to battle Embiid. Okafor doesn’t bring much on defense or the boards, and it’s crystal clear why he is the third string center right now.
The Pistons host the 76ers again Monday night.