The 76ers were stretched to the limit, but a Detroit Pistons team that was banged up showed plenty of fight. In the end the Sixers earned a 114-110 victory on Saturday night in Detroit.
Here are three reasons why the Sixers won against a Pistons team they will again face on Monday in Detroit.
Defense on Jerami Grant
The Pistons were without their second and third leading scorers, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin, who were out injured. So that put more of the onus on former Sixer Jerami Grant, who entered the game averaging 25.1 points.
Grant never got untracked. He shot 3 for 19 from the field, including 2 of 9 from three-point range and scored 11 points, his lowest total since scoring nine in an opening night loss at Minnesota.
According to NBA.com stats, several Sixers ended up guarding Grant in individual matchups, many times on defensive switches. He shot 1 for 5 in individual matchups against both Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. He was 1 for 3 against Danny Green and 0 for 2 against Ben Simmons, who had the second most matchup minutes (4:10) behind only Harris (4:22).
While the Sixers did a good job on help defense, a review of all his field goal attempts, shows that Grant missed several open three-pointers and also simply didn’t finish on a few drives to the basket.
After scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 122-110 win over the visiting Boston Celtics, Ben Simmons stayed aggressive, at least for the first half. He scored 16 of his season-high 20 points in the first half, eight in both the first and second quarters.
All five made field goals came in the first half and all came within five feet of the basket.
In the second half he only had one field goal attempt, but Simmons also went to the foul line six times, making four. For the game Simmons was 10 for 12 from the foul line, earning season highs in both attempts and makes.
Embiid having his own way
After scoring a total of 80 points in the previous two wins against Boston, Joel Embiid was again a major factor with 33 points and 14 rebounds.
Actually, Embiid wasn’t lights-out shooting the way he had been the previous games, when he shot 67.6 percent from the field (23 for 34) against the Celtics. Embiid shot 10 for 20, with one three-pointer, and 12 for 17 from the foul line against Detroit The five missed free throws was a season high.
Embiid was getting good shots. Seven of his misses were from seven feet or in, and Detroit wasn’t making him work to take difficult shots. He just missed some that he was draining against Boston.