6 observations from Sixers-Pistons

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6 observations from Sixers-Pistons

BOX SCORE

The Sixers scored 63 points against the Pistons in the first half -- their second-best output in a single game before intermission this season. The Sixers were also up by 16 at one point.

And they blew it.

After a hot start, the Sixers cooled considerably and lost to the Pistons, 114-104, at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday (see Instant Replay). It was the Sixers' third straight defeat and their fifth loss in the last six meetings against Detroit. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Pistons.

Some observations from the game:

1. Thaddeus Young played just 21 minutes in the Sixers’ game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday. Part of that was because the Sixers got blown out, and part of it was owed to fatigue, according to Young.

Young looked better and played much more on Friday. He tied for a game-high 22 points to go with four rebounds and two assists in 40 minutes.

2. Evan Turner didn’t play much against Cleveland either, logging only 17 minutes. Against the Pistons, Turner had more points (8) in the first seven minutes than he did in the entire game against the Cavs (4). Turner finished with 19 points, five rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes against the Pistons.

3. Turner should probably think twice before trying to dunk on Andre Drummond again. In the second quarter, Turner went strong to the hoop and tried to throw down a two-handed dunk. Drummond blocked it with one hand, and without much trouble. The Detroit center is having an excellent season, and he’s averaging more than a block and a half per game. He is a man. And a monster. He’s a man-monster. For the game, the Pistons had an insane, almost-impossible 14 blocks. Drummond had six of them.

4. The Sixers aren’t good at stopping the three-pointer. You probably heard. They entered Friday allowing 10.3 threes per game (most in the NBA). The Pistons aren’t good at making threes. You might not have heard. Detroit came to Philly hitting just 6.1 threes per game (27th). But as it goes with most teams, the Pistons shot much better than usual against the Sixers. Detroit hit 11 of 30 from beyond the arc. At some point, the Sixers have to defend shots from distance -- don’t they? Or maybe they’ll just wait until next year for that.

5. The Sixers entered Friday evening as a slightly better rebounding team than the Pistons, averaging 0.7 more rebounds per game than Detroit. That was somewhat surprising considering the Pistons employ Drummond (12.7 rpg) and Greg Monroe (8.9 rpg), both of whom are in the top 20 in the league in rebounds per game. Detroit also has Josh Smith. And while Smith has been somewhat inconsistent this season, he went into the game averaging 6.8 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Spencer Hawes (8.6 rpg) is the only Sixer among the top 40 rebounders in the league. And with Lavoy Allen out with a right calf injury, it looked like the Pistons might dominate the Sixers on the glass. (OK, OK, Allen isn’t great, but he’s still a large human who occupies space under the basket.) That's what happened. The Pistons crushed the Sixers on the boards, out-rebounded their hosts by 20. The disparity was particularly ugly on the offensive glass, where there Pistons had a 25-13 advantage.

6. Friday was the first of a back-to-back for the Sixers, who play the Knicks at home on Saturday evening. It was also the first outing in a four-game homestand for the Sixers. The Sixers have lost five of their last six at home this season. They’re 7-10 overall at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers have had a winning record at home in 14 of the last 15 seasons. A year ago, they went 23-18 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sixers' Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

Sixers' Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

As the Sixers get two bigs back from injury, another goes down.

First overall pick Ben Simmons suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot on Friday. Simmons rolled his right ankle during the team’s final training camp scrimmage at Stockton University.

Simmons underwent an X-ray and MRI on his right foot and ankle. Sixers head physician Dr. Christopher Dodson and Sixers chief medical officer and co-chief of sports medicine orthopedics at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow reviewed the images.

Simmons’ timetable to return is to be determined. The Sixers are considering further medical evaluation and treatment options. 

Landing the number one pick and selecting Simmons was the highlight of the Sixers’ next chapter. They were supposed to be healthy this time around as they entered a new phase following a 10-72 season. 

The news of the fracture adds to years of injury-related setbacks. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie season rehabbing from an ACL injury. After undergoing two foot injuries in as many years, the 2014 third overall pick Joel Embiid is slated to make his NBA debut Oct. 4 against the Celtics in preseason action. Jahlil Okafor is also expected to play next Tuesday for the first time since his season-ending knee surgery in March. 

The Sixers drafted Simmons to become a focal point of their system. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, he is a point-forward with the potential to change the look of a lineup. During training camp Brown experimented with multiple combinations, including playing Simmons at the point, shooting guard and small forward. 

Brown called the two-three combination of Simmons and Dario Saric “6-10, do-alls” (see story)

Simmons, 20, impressed his teammates during camp. In just four days of practices, it was easy for them to see how Simmons would improve the Sixers. 

“He’s really physical,” Joel Embiid said. “He’s just a big presence. When he pushes the ball, you can feel it. He makes you want to go with him. … He’s so fast and he’s so big.” 

Said Nerlens Noel, “He just plays basketball the right way. When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."

The Sixers will be faced with filling a role they haven’t actually had yet. They had gameplans of how to utilize Simmons, but they were implemented only in training camp. The Sixers have a frontcourt logjam which will allow them to plug in other players at the power forward spot. They also can fill his experimented role on the wings with traditional shooters. But his absence will eliminate versatile lineups in which players are essentially “positionless,” a Warriors-style of play that causes mismatches of size and skills. 

Even though the Sixers have an abundance of bigs, Embiid and Okafor will be monitored for minutes at the start of the season. Throw in Simmons’ injury and this creates opportunities for other frontcourt players such as Richaun Holmes and Elton Brand. With Simmons absence, there also could be more minutes for Saric to play his natural position at power forward. 

Simmons wasn’t letting himself get too far ahead as he entered his first NBA season. He has been taking each day one at a time with an excitement of the newness of his rookie year.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” Simmons said on Media Day. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

Now it remains to be seen when Simmons will play his first game. 

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Ben Simmons rolled his right ankle during a team scrimmage on the final day of training camp. He was taken for precautionary imaging. The results have not yet been completed.

Jerryd Bayless did not scrimmage because of a sore left wrist, which the team continues to monitor. He sat out of Thursday's scrimmage for the same reason.

Jahlil Okafor participated in Friday's scrimmage in accordance to his load management. The Sixers are being cautious with players as they return from injury. Okafor underwent right knee surgery last season.