The Sixers are finally returning to the Center after a disappointing road trip. It was not likely that the team would finish the trip above .500 but losing to the Warriors without Steph Curry really stung. The team now has a chance to bounce back as they begin a four-game homestand. First team up, the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons are in the midst of a disappointing season that started with playoff aspirations. Star forward Blake Griffin dealt with a nagging knee injury all year and two surgeries later, it was announced that he would be out the remainder of the season. The Pistons then chose to sell off some assets namely star center Andre Drummond. The team is putting this season behind them but they are still scrappy so they can’t be overlooked.
How Will the Coronavirus impact the Team?
With the outbreak of Coronavirus reaching the States, the NBA along with other major sports organizations are taking the necessary steps to avoid it spreading. While fans are currently allowed, to still attend games, many may feel it unwise meaning that the home crowd may not be the same. If the numbers aren’t there as usual, will home court still have the same effect?
We’ll have to wait and see, maybe the arena will still be packed, maybe the team is comfortable at home with or without the fans. Tonight will possibly be a chance to see how the team responds without sold-out fan backing.
Keys to the Game
Lock Down Christian Wood
With the Pistons long injury list (Blake Griffin, D-Rose, Luke Kennard), the next player to watch is Christian Wood. Over his last 9 games, Wood is averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds. While his numbers may be inflated, Wood has been very effective, shooting a healthy 55% from the field. The Sixers will need to rely on Embiid (if healthy) and Horford to shut down the Piston’s prime offensive weapon.
Push the Ball
Ben Simmons may not be playing tonight but that doesn’t mean the Sixers can’t play up-tempo. With a Shake Milton, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, and Tobias Harris, the Sixers have plenty of transition talent. Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Scott, and Raul Neto can also be utilized as great catch and shoot options in transition.
The Sixers need to come out of the gates hot and bull-rush the Pistons from the jump. This Detroit team is young especially without Griffin and Rose, the Sixers will have every opportunity to wreck their confidence and must take full advantage of it.
As they tend to do, the Sixers will bounce back at home tonight and it won’t be close. With or without Joel Embiid, who at this moment is considered questionable, the Sixers won’t be stopped.
Final Score: Sixers 123 – Detroit 102
This game will be a much-needed breath of fresh air for Sixers fans. While it won’t mean much in the grand scheme, to get back on the winning side of basketball is much needed.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM EST and you can watch tonight’s game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports