Following a three-game skid, the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be back in a comfort zone.
The Sixers’ offensive flow was disrupted by zone defenses during the skid. They averaged 97 points while falling to Brooklyn, Miami and Dallas.
They got back on track in a 125-108 romp over Washington on Saturday night. They’ll try to build a winning streak when they face the floundering Detroit Pistons on the road Monday.
“It was important to (end the losing streak),” forward Tobias Harris told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You never want to drop three in a row. Our motto should really be not to drop one when it happens. I think it was just a learning lesson for us in a lot of things. Obviously, teams are rolling with the zone. We just kind of have to get them out of it.”
Center Joel Embiid and shooting guard Josh Richardson had 21 points apiece but point guard Ben Simmons was the catalyst. He had 14 points, 11 assists and four steals and also led the team with four offensive rebounds.
“I see Ben so athletic, elusive, just quick to the boards,” coach Brett Brown said. “That to me is where he can have his greatest impact in our zone offense.”
Harris, a former Piston, had the greatest impact in the first meeting between Philadelphia and Detroit this season. He poured in 29 points during a 117-111 Sixers victory on Oct. 26.
Philadelphia has won eight of the last nine meetings. They won the four-game series last season 3-1.
Sixth man Derrick Rose led the Pistons in that early-season matchup with 31 points but his status for Monday’s game is questionable. He was a late scratch in Detroit’s 119-107 loss to Chicago on Saturday due to a sore knee.
“We missed him a lot,” coach Dwane Casey said of Rose. “We missed his scoring off the bench. (The knee injury) is nothing permanent but it was sore. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go for Monday night.”
The team’s star forward, Blake Griffin, missed his 15th game this season. His past absences were due to knee and hamstring soreness or load management. On Saturday, Griffin was sidelined by the flu.
The Pistons have lost four straight, with three of those games at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit is now eight games below .500, but Casey isn’t waving the white flag.
“At some point, we’re going to get everybody together healthy, on the same page, same rhythm on both ends of the floor and make a run for it,” he said.
Rebounding and turnovers have been big issues the last two games.
Without Griffin and reserve center Christian Wood (left knee bone bruise) to help out Andre Drummond, opponents have grabbed 32 more rebounds than the Pistons the last two games. Drummond had 14 on Saturday; no one else had more than four. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker, the other remaining healthy bigs, combined for one rebound in 49 minutes.
“Obviously, we have the best rebounder in the league, but we can’t count on him to get every rebound,” swingman Luke Kennard said. “As guards, we have to rebound better and help him out at little bit.”
Detroit has committed 41 turnovers the past two outings. Drummond, the team’s center, has posted an unusual stat line — 11 turnovers and 11 steals in those games.
–Field Level Media