Philadelphia 76ers vs Detroit Pistons

 

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The Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons will finish up a two-game set on Monday night at Little Caesar’s Arena. Philadelphia managed a hard-fought 114-110 win at Detroit on Saturday, although the Pistons covered an 8.5-point spread. These teams are at opposite ends of the standings, as Philadelphia leads the Eastern Conference at 12-5 while Detroit has the worst record in the NBA at 3-13.

Each of the last 7 meetings has gone in favor of the 76ers dating back to October of 2018.

76ers win strong with strong third quarter

Philadelphia finally has its full lineup back after being interrupted by COVID over the past two weeks, but didn’t have an easy time with the Pistons on Saturday. Detroit led by two at halftime before the 76ers won the third quarter 33-25 and maintained a lead throughout the frame, aided by four clutch free throws by Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in the final four seconds.

Embiid continued his MVP caliber season with a team-high 33 points and 14 rebounds, while Simmons added 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals. The 76ers went 30/38 from the free throw line and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds to make the difference in the game.

“I’ll tell you; it wasn’t a beautiful game by us, but it was a win. It was one of those games NBA games where you could see our legs. We had so many wide-open shots down the stretch, everything was under the rim. We just needed to survive the game, and I thought our guys did that,” head coach Doc Rivers said to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philadelphia falls to 9-8 against the spread this season, although it had covered in three of the previous four games before Saturday including a pair of wins over the Boston Celtics. Overs are also 9-8 for the 76ers so far, with five of the last six games going over the betting total following a hot start for the under.

The 76ers rank eighth in the NBA in scoring at 114.3 points per game while shooting 54.5 percent from two (sixth-best) and 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. Opponents are averaging 110.2 points per game to put Philadelphia at 12th in the NBA on shooting splits of a league-best 48.5 percent from two and 36.7 percent from deep.

Embiid is having a dominant season so far with an average of 27.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 55.4 percent from the field. Tobias Harris is having a resurgent season with 19.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while making 45.5 percent of his shots from three.

It’s unclear if the 76ers will be at full strength for Monday’s game, as Embiid is officially listed as questionable with back tightness. The star center was on the injury report with the same designation for the last game but was able to play. Vincent Poirier is still in the health and safety protocols, while Mike Scott remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Pistons fall short again

The Pistons have largely been competitive in games with a number of close losses, but lost another tight one by four points to Philadelphia on Saturday. Detroit’s offense came out hot to help build a 31-28 lead at the end of one, but the Pistons could only muster 47 points in the second half and were held scoreless for a key two-minute stretch of crunch time after cutting the lead to two.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk led the Pistons with 15 points off the bench on 4/6 shooting, while Sekou Doumbouya had one of the best games of sophomore season with 13 points. Detroit shot 43 percent from the field and was hurt by turning the ball over 15 times.

“I loved the effort, I loved the togetherness guys played with,” head coach Dwane Casey said to the Associated Press. “We continue to do that, good things are going to happen.”

The Pistons have been more successful against the spread at 8-7-1 while only being favored in two games this season, both outright losses. Overs are 9-7 for the Pistons so far, with four of the last five games including Saturday’s contest against Philadelphia going over the betting total.

Detroit is in the bottom 10 in the league in scoring on both sides of the ball, including an average of 108.9 points per game on an NBA-worst 47.3 percent shooing from two and 35.5 percent from three. Opponents are averaging 113.6 points per game on shooting splits of 55.3 percent from two and 38.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Free agent acquisition Jerami Grant is having a career-best season with 24.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game on 44.3 percent from the field. Derrick Rose is next up at 14.8 points per game while also dishing out 4.6 assists per contest off the bench.

Rose was out for the first game against Philadelphia with a knee injury and remains questionable. Blake Griffin has also been limited to 12 games by a knee injury and is questionable to return by Monday. Lottery pick Killian Hayes is out at least another month with a torn labrum in his hip, while point guard Frank Jackson is out indefinitely due to an ankle.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The injury report needs to be monitored before placing a bet on this game, particularly in regards to Embiid, but this is a lot of points for Philadelphia in a road game with the Pistons at least managing to compete against good teams this year. Philadelphia still has some massive home/road splits even in the era of no fans, while the Pistons have only lost by more than 10 points once this season.

Detroit managed to keep the game within four points despite Grant shooting a miserable 3/19 from the field, which is not likely to happen again as he’s generally been efficient this season. Some of the absences might be a blessing in disguise for the Pistons as well, as it allowed more opportunities for Mykhailiuk and Doumbouya, who played very well as the Detroit bench was the biggest reason the game was close.

Philadelphia was horrendous on the road last season and is only 3-4 to start this year with losses to teams like Memphis, Cleveland and Atlanta. If Embiid is out this becomes even more appealing for Detroit, but either way the 76ers haven’t proven they can cover on the road even against bad teams.

Prediction:
Pistons +7

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Saturday’s game finished with 228 points despite neither team playing particularly well on offense, and recent trends indicate this meeting should go over as well. While Philadelphia is a great defensive team, the 76ers tend to play some high scoring games as they run the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA.

There’s not much difference in the Pistons offense (23rd in rating) and defense (22nd), but they scratched out 110 points on Saturday, and should get better efficiency out of Grant in game two, in addition to Wanye Ellington continuing his red hot streak. Philadelphia’s offense completely transformed over the offseason under Daryl Morey with much-improved three-point shooting, and the 76ers are eighth in scoring as a result.

Prediction:
Over 215