Sixers look to recover from long road trip
The Sixers (12-23) will attempt to get back on the winning track when they face the Detroit Pistons (14-22) on Friday night.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at Wells Fargo Center.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
1. Wake up
The Sixers should look like a different team from an energy standpoint when they take the court on Friday.
They finally got a chance to rest after suffering a pair of blowout losses to Minnesota on Monday and Cleveland on Tuesday that wrapped up a stretch of five games in seven days.
The Sixers looked sluggish in both games, allowing the Timberwolves and Cavs to shoot 47.6 percent from the field. They also gave up 29 three-pointers and lost by a combined 48 points.
The Sixers will try to match their play from the four games prior to facing the T’wolves and Cavs when they held opponents to 38.7 percent from the field and 25.2 percent from three-point range.
2. Foot on the gas
The Sixers still lead the NBA in pace with 102.5 possessions per 48 minutes, and that breakneck speed should benefit them against the Pistons.
The Pistons, who have lost six in a row, have struggled mightily in recent games. They’ve averaged only 88.8 points per game during their recent skid.
Things have been especially brutal for the Pistons after halftime. Detroit has averaged just 38.3 points and connected on 36.4 percent of its shots in the second half over its last six games.
If the Sixers can keep the pressure on by continuing to run, the Pistons could wilt while trying to keep up after intermission.
3. Paint remover
Any chance the Sixers have of ending their modest two-game skid will start with defending the low post.
The Sixers were bludgeoned in the paint during their last meeting with the Pistons, a 115-100 loss on Dec. 1. Detroit scored 52 points in the paint during the victory and out-rebounded the Sixers, 57-41.
Andre Drummond had the best game of his career. He scored 31 points on 12 of 15 shooting, grabbed 19 rebounds, had six steals and blocked two shots.
While the Sixers rank second in the NBA in points in the paint (51.1 points a game), the difference in the game will be trying to slow down a Pistons squad that ranks first in the category (51.3 points).
Tony Wroten (illness) is expected to return to the Sixers’ lineup against the Pistons, while Lavoy Allen (calf) is out (see story).
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out.
The Pistons have no significant injuries.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost four of their last five against the Pistons.
• Detroit has either led or been tied in each of its last four games before losing.
• Thaddeus Young went scoreless against the Cavs after averaging 25.6 points over the previous eight games.
• Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings is averaging 13.3 points per game on 28.9 percent shooting during the Pistons’ six-game skid.
• Friday marks Maurice Cheeks’ first return to Philadelphia as a head coach since being fired by the team in Dec. 2008.