In the second game played on Saturday, the star-studded Philadelphia 76ers will visit Motor City to play the Detroit Pistons. Both teams are likely to make the playoffs, so this is a good test for both squads. Philly will get another chance to build synergy with their now roster, while Detroit will lean on firepower from the bench to try and steal a game.
Philadelphia 76ers (1-0) @ Detroit Pistons (1-1)
The 76ers are one of the two top dogs of the Eastern Conference, with Embiid and Simmons looking to lead the franchise for years to come. They lost a star over the offseason, but they acquired two excellent starters that can help shore up the defense. This year’s lineup will perform much better than last season and it looks like they’ve already got it clicking. It will be tough to bet against them all season long, so you’re better off picking them more often than not.
- Philly had a fantastic first game of the season against Boston, overcoming them 107-93.
- Superstar bigman Joel Embiid is questionable for today’s game with an ankle sprain. Mike Scott is as well.
- The 76ers’ starting lineup definitely came to play, as they accounted for 87 of the team’s 107 points (81.3%).
- 6’9 point guard Ben Simmons was the real deal against the Celtics, finishing with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists on 11-16 (68.8%) shooting, although no attempts were from 3-point range.
- Shooting guard Josh Richardson, who was exchanged for Jimmy Butler during the offseason, had a pretty good first game despite poor shooting. He had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 4-12 (33.3%) shooting, but a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line.
- Philadelphia’s biggest strength was undoubtedly their rebounding, as they crushed the Celtics 62-41.
- On the other hand, their weakness was definitely a lack of bench scoring, with just 20 points from 7 different players combined.
The Pistons should have a better year this season with the addition of a rejuvenated Derrick Rose. Unfortunately, their biggest determiner will be just how healthy Blake Griffin can remain down the stretch. He was plagued with injuries last season and it’s disappointing to see that he is already missing games to start this season. Facing a Philly squad that might be missing one of their two main stars is a good chance to boost morale with a tough-fought win.
- Detroit has actually played 2 games now, winning their first against Indiana 119-110 and losing 100-117 to Atlanta.
- Star forward Blake Griffin will miss yet another game with his hamstring issue. Reggie Jackson is questionable and Markieff Morris is probable.
- Across both games, center Andre Drummond has been a steadying force for Detroit. He is now averaging 5 points, 17.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, and 2.5 blocks on a fantastic 66.7% shooting clip.
- Former MVP Derrick Rose has also been amazing, now averaging 5 points and 6 assists on a stellar 63% shooting from the field.
- Another great punch off the bench has been Luke Kennard, averaging 5 points on 44% shooting and a scorching 50% from downtown.
- There’s no question that the bench is the hot point for the Pistons. They’re up to 5 points per game across their two matchups, with most coming from Rose and Kennard.
- It seems like Detroit’s glaring weakness is their defense. They are allowing 5 points per game, putting them in the bottom half of the league.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers – No Line Yet
Tonight’s game is ultimately a battle between a conference heavyweight and a likely future 6th-8th seed. If Embiid misses tonight’s game, it will definitely make the game more competitive, but he also wasn’t the real reason why Philly won their first game. The 76ers are a legitimate title contender this year behind great defense and plenty of firepower. This is why your best bet is with the Philadelphia 76ers winning tonight’s game.