Last season, playing against a less talented opponent after two encouraging victories over an opponent from the Eastern Conference would probably be a problem for the Sixers. They lost several disappointing games that fit this description or were very close to it.
Although it was not easy, the team did not repeat this trend and took care of business on Saturday night in Detroit, beating the Pistons 114-110 and moving to 12-5.
Detroit was without No. 7 Killian Hayes (hip deformity) Blake Griffin (left knee injury management) and Derrick Rose (left knee pain) Vincent Poirier and Mike Scott were left out of the Sixers due to relevant health and safety protocols of the NBA and swelling of the right knee.
The Sixers will stay in Detroit to play the Pistons again Monday night. Here are observations on their victory to open the mini-series:
Simmons thrives, making up for the free night on the bench
Like Joel Embiid on Friday night, Ben Simmons had a strong start, interrupted by unpleasant problems. Before being called up for his second foul with the remaining 4:56 in the first period, he posted eight points, three rebounds and two assists, driving effectively downhill.
For the second game in a row, the Sixers bench did not do well during their time on the floor late in the first and early second periods, making careless mistakes that helped the Pistons prosper in the transition. Although the Sixers received valuable performances from their bench at the beginning of the season, the composition of the team̵
Given that the Sixers bench was 55-23 ahead of the second half of Detroit.
Dwight Howard did his best to provide physical energy and energy, but was called on an offensive foul when he fought for an offensive ricochet, and Pistons rookie Isaiah Stewart tore off some of his shorts. The great veteran raised a technical foul to justify the confusing call, as you can see in the video above.
As for Simmons, he resumed his aggressive offensive mindset after this foul caused by problems on the bench. He scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, adding nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a characteristically diverse performance.
With a 10 to 12 foul, Simmons has now made 65.9 percent of his free throws this season.
Simmons’ main defensive task was Jeremy Grant. While Process Era Sixer spent his most productive season in the NBA, he had a bad night against Simmons and Sixers, scoring 11 points in a 3-on-19 shooting. It’s certainly not the first time Simmons has played a subpart.
Even if missed open strikes are part of what went wrong for Grant, it’s no coincidence that Simmons often makes the opposition’s biggest offensive threat seem far less powerful than usual. Simmons swallowed Grant with a particularly impressive possession from the third quarter, reflecting his moves to the baseline, kicking the ball and forcing the ball to bounce. If he stays healthy, Simmons seems to have the talent to accumulate awards for the first team of All Defensive year after year.
Again compared against Embiid
Almost every time Embiid plays, it seems imperative to note that he has a profitable match, as if to show that his incredible result comes with a significant remark. When the case is so common, however, he says something about how difficult it is to defend Embiid. The obvious formula for slowing him down is double unification at the right moments, which makes him make contested shots from the middle and avoid fouls. Everything is much easier said than done.
Miles Plumlee, Stewart and former teammate Jahlil Okafor were the players tasked with guarding Embiid, who was named as a dubious leader in the game due to a tight back. No one had convincing answers against the three-time All-Star, although Embiid was not as sharp or effective as during the Sixers mini-series over the Celtics. He scored 80 points in 34 field attempts against Boston.
Embiid still scored 33 points on Saturday in 10 shots for 20 and 14 rebounds, but nothing in his game was strikingly brilliant or exceptionally high by the very high standards he set. This type of performance seems regular in scope.
Detroit had a significant three-point lead over the Sixers in the first half, hitting 9 of 15 long-distance attempts over the Sixers’ 2-for-8 score. The Pistons were very successful, driving Wayne Ellington (17 points) around the screens. and Sixers were occasionally weak or did not follow the shooters well, or flew past them.
The team’s defense was also not perfect after the half. However, the facts are that the Sixers overcame an 11-point deficit in the first half to win on the road in the second half. Sixers did well to overcome these suboptimal circumstances.