Here are my main takeaways and best and worst awards from the 76ers' 116-102 victory over the Detroit Pistons Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
– Joel Embiid makes the Sixers a better team when he’s engaged and posting up in the low post. At 7-foot-2 and 270 pounds, he puts opposing teams at an advantage when he starts games on the perimeter as a stretch five.
– Ben Simmons dominates opponents, especially in the first quarter, with his ability to score in the post. However, he’ll still need to work on his foul shooting. The point guard is making just 56.6 percent of his foul shots. Simmons will need to improve that if the Sixers want to be successful in the postseason.
– The Sixers will be in a bind if Jimmy Butler has to miss an extended amount of time because of his groin strain. The team can win a few games without Embiid or Simmons. However, the Sixers would be hard-pressed to sustain a winning streak against quality opponents without Butler. He’s scheduled to get an MRI on Tuesday. The good thing is the team doesn’t think it’s too serious, but it will learn more after the MRI.
– Not picking up Furkan Korkmaz’s third-year option is proving to be bad move by the Sixers. The reserve guard is developing into one of their go-to scorers off the bench.
Best and worst awards
Best performance: Korkmaz gets this for finishing with career highs of 18 points and seven rebounds. He made 4 of 7 three-pointers.
Worst performance: This was an extremely tough one, but I had to give it to Bruce Brown. He finished with six points on 3-for-7 shooting and graded out at a game-worst minus-21.
Best defensive performance: This goes to Embiid for finishing with two blocks and two steals.
Worst statistic: I gave this to Simmons' making just 2 of 9 foul shots and missing five straight at one point.
Best statistic: This goes to Korkmaz’s making 4 of 7 three-pointers.
Worst of the worst: This goes to Butler’s suffering a groin strain.