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Pistons vs. 76ers Preview: No rest for the weary in search for first win

Detroit is looking to upset an up-and-down 76ers team on the road tonight

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This season has always been about development over wins for the Detroit Pistons.

We knew this team had the chance to be very bad, and through three games, it has been truly horrendous. Now, they’ll figure it out at some point... but next up on their brutal opening schedule is a road game at the Philadelphia 76ers.

Detroit hasn’t won in Philly since 2017. Yikes.

Game Vitals

When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit or NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +10.5

Analysis

If you think it’s been an uncomfortable start to the season for the Pistons, you haven’t been watching the 76ers. They’re without Ben Simmons, who is either working on preparing mentally for the season or working on forcing his way out of town, and have been very inconsistent.

Their defense is shaky while their offense has been one of the league’s best. It’s no surprise that sans Simmons they haven’t defended as well, but the offensive success is interesting and will be something to watch against the sometimes-stingy Pistons tonight.

We all know Joel Embiid is the man for Philly, but he’s gotten off to a bit of a cold start. His scoring (19.3 points) and rebounding (7.3 rebounds) per game are both down significantly from last season as he’s battled nagging injuries early.

Struggles or not, he’s going to be a challenge for Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk. Stew has had some issues guarding the pick-and-roll early on, but in the season opener against Chicago he locked up Nikola Vucevic and threw away the keys.

I’m interested to see how that plays out against one of the league’s best in Embiid.

The only other go-to type scorer in Philly is a familiar face in Tobias Harris. Jerami Grant, if he plays, will likely handle that assignment, though we could see some Saddiq Bey on Harris as well. The more I watch Saddiq play this season, the more I see little bits of his game that remind me of Tobias — two big shooters/crafty scorers who aren’t overly athletic.

This is also a homecoming game for Bey, who played his college ball in Philly at Villanova.

The 76ers backcourt has been inconsistent. Seth Curry is what he is, a shooter who helps you even when he’s not making shots because he needs to be respected at all times. Tyrese Maxey, a second year guard out of Kentucky, is filling in for Simmons at the point.

He’s capable of scoring in bunches, but he’s not a true point guard and feels like more of an undersized shooting guard. This is another matchup to watch as Detroit looks to combat him with some combination of Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson and Hamidou Diallo.

I’d be surprised if the Pistons won tonight, considering they’re 10.5-point underdogs, but that’s a bet I might be willing to think about. Yes, Detroit is coming off a blowout loss in Atlanta, but last season they showed a knack for responding well after games like that.

This has a chance to be a competitive game — that’s all I'm saying. Though I will add: the Oklahoma City Thunder upset the Los Angeles Lakers last night... so who knows?

Projected Lineups

Philadelphia 76ers (2-2)

Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid

Detroit Pistons (0-3)

Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

Facing Joel Embiid, what do you want to see from Isaiah Stewart defensively in this one?