Coming off of a Friday night victory over the New Orleans Pelicans where we saw the Sixers extend their win streak to 7 games (a season high) in heart racing fashion, The Detroit Pistons are coming to Philadelphia hoping to stop the streak. The Sixers need to recognize what is at stake here in these last few games and need to make sure they take every game serious despite who they are matching up against. Securing the 1st seed could be the difference between making the finals and losing in the 2nd round or Eastern Conference Finals.
Enterting this game and preparing for the defensive side of the ball it is very obvious who the Sixers need to make sure they prepare for if he plays Saturday. The guy here is Jerami Grant. A candidate for Most Improved Player, and a guy averaging 22.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG. and 2.8 APG is always a tough task. If Grant does end up sitting out this would make this game a lot easier without his high scoring production. Other notable names that have been ruled out for the Pistons contains Josh Jackson and Hamidou Diallo. The main keys here for players who will be playing is gonna be slowing down Saddiq Bey, Wayne Ellington, and Killian Hayes. Ellington seems to always give the Sixers problems no matter what team he plays for, and they should look to limit outside shots while forcing them inside more.
Offensively, the game plan should be fairly obvious. Get the star big man and MVP candidate going early. The last time these teams matched up Joel had missed the game, but two days before that they had played again and Joel was dominating. In their first match up Joel Embiid dropped 33 Points, 14 Rebounds and 2 Blocks, accounting for one of his better games of the season and what jump started the MVP conversation. The pistons have no one who can really stop Embiid, so like usual the game plan should be to just feed Joel until they have no option but double-teaming him. Another X-Factor in this game is going to be Ben Simmons. In the first two games against the Pistons this season, Simmons has an average of 15.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 5.5 APG. With playoffs around the corner it is a necessity that we can get as much of the team going as possible.
Including this game Saturday afternoon, the Sixers currently have 5 more games left in the season and it is going to be real close seeing who gets the 1st seed. If the Sixers can avoid Brooklyn and Milwaukee in the first two rounds of the playoffs that would be the ideal scenario. There is a 3 game difference between the Sixers in 1st and the Bucks / Nets who are tied for the 2nd seed at the moment. The Sixers need to get any wins they can currently, and should not take any of these match ups lightly because as I mentioned, the seeding is going to play a massive part in what happens during these playoffs. Sixers look to start winding down the season, and it starts tonight at 7:00 PM.