76ers

Sixers-Pistons: 5 things you need to know

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Sixers-Pistons: 5 things you need to know

The Sixers (6-11) look to snap their three-game skid when they kick off December against the Detroit Pistons (6-10).

Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. (CSN) at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Feeling homesick
The Sixers have had their share of problems lately and things have been even worse on the road.

The team has just a 1-6 record away from home this season with its lone road win coming in the second game of the year over Washington.

While the Sixers are allowing a league-worst 109.8 points per game, that number has reached 113.8 during their six straight road defeats. They rank 28th in the NBA in defensive efficiency coming into Sunday’s meeting.

The Sixers should be able to find their footing against a Detroit squad that’s had its own issues on the offensive end. The Pistons are 18th in the league in scoring at 98.3 points per game. Also, in the three-point department -- where the Sixers have struggled all season long -- the Pistons are dead last with a woeful 28.8 percent.

2. All hands on deck
A big reason the Sixers have struggled recently is the shuffling of their lineup.

Due to injuries (Spencer Hawes and Michael Carter-Williams) and personal reasons (Thaddeus Young), the Sixers have been without their usual slate of starters. Friday’s home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans was the first time in nine games that the Sixers trotted their regular starting lineup onto the court.

In nine games with head coach Brett Brown’s normal lineup, the Sixers posted a 4-5 record and reached the 100-point mark six times. In the other eight games, the Sixers are 2-6 and hit the 100-point mark just three times.

3. Get on the glass
The Sixers rank third in the NBA in rebounding, but they might have their hands full on the boards against the Pistons.

The Pistons only rate 14th in rebounding. However, they boast a trio of big men that can clean the glass with anyone in Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith.

Drummond’s 11.8 rebounds per game are fourth-best in the league. Monroe grabs 8.6 boards a game and Smith hauls in 7.3.

All of that talent and length in the paint helps the Pistons grab a league-best 13.6 offensive rebounds per game.

4. Injuries
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.

Detroit’s Will Bynum (hamstring) is day to day. Chauncey Billups (knee) is out.

5. This and that
• Young averages 20.7 points per game on the road, up from 11.1 at home.

• The Pistons have lost four of their last six overall.

• In their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, the Pistons scored the NBA’s season high for points in the paint with 76. That passed the Sixers’ mark of 74 against the Wizards on Nov. 1.

• Monroe averaged 22.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in three games against the Sixers last season.

• The Sixers and Pistons are among the league’s worst teams at the free throw line. The Sixers are 28th at the stripe (69.3 percent) and the Pistons are last in the NBA (66.8 percent).

Brown says 'nobody has any fears' over long-term impact on Fultz's shot

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Brown says 'nobody has any fears' over long-term impact on Fultz's shot

DETROIT — If you’re under the impression Markelle Fultz’s shooting game has been affected by his sore right shoulder, you’re not alone.

Sixers coach Brett Brown thinks so, too.

“There’s no doubt that it factors into what people question right now about his shot. There’s no doubt,” Brown said prior to the Sixers’ matchup Monday night in Detroit. “You don’t just walk a certain way for a long period of your life, and then all of the sudden, start to limp.”

Brown’s comments come on the heels of another worrisome shooting performance from Fultz, who made just 1 of 5 shots en route to six points in Saturday’s 128-94 blowout loss in Toronto.

It marked the second straight game Fultz logged only six points after he made just 2 of 9 shots in the Sixers’ home-opening loss to the Boston Celtics.

“(Fultz) doesn’t let on much. He doesn’t want to let on much,” Brown said. “But nobody’s hiding anything. It’s just, none of us can dismiss that it doesn’t factor into some of the shooting concerns that he might have. 

“What I do know is that the work he puts in, the work on his shoulder, all that stuff, nobody is dramatizing it. It’s consistent and I think it’s heading into the path that we want.”

Brown acknowledged that Fultz’s shoulder woes remain a cause for concern. That said, it appears Brown has no intention of sitting the 19-year-old sharpshooter, who has yet to attempt a three-pointer in his first three regular-season games, despite shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc in his lone season season at the University of Washington.

“I’m trying to grow him and find minutes for him, and become a part of what we’re doing,” Brown said. “He’s obviously a huge part of our future. That kind of stuff is what’s mostly on my mind.”

Asked whether he had concerns about whether continuing to play Fultz could affect his shot down the road, Brown was quick to dismiss the notion, citing the opinion of the team’s medical staff. 

“I’m advised mostly by the medical people — that’s what I get worried about the most. And nobody has any fears,” Brown said. “Like we’ve said to Markelle, this is not going to define him. This first season is not going to define him. 

“He’s so compliant. When you really dig in deeper, and not get tricked by just statistics, he’s been good. He really has been good.”

Opening week affects MVP odds of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

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Opening week affects MVP odds of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

Ben Simmons had himself a historic first week in the NBA and as a result, his MVP odds have changed substantially.

Listed by Bovada on Oct. 10 at 80/1 to win MVP, Simmons is now at 33/1, tied with DeMarcus Cousins and ahead of Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin and Damian Lillard.

Simmons became the first player since Oscar Robertson to produce at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in each of his first three career games.

Teammate Joel Embiid had a less successful start to the year, averaging 14.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in two games but shooting just 35.5 percent from the field and missing all 10 three-point attempts.

And yet somehow, Embiid's MVP odds have changed from 40/1 to 25/1. He has the same MVP odds as Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis.

Griffin, at 50/1, is a sneaky good bet for MVP. The Clippers are his team now with Chris Paul in Houston, and Griffin has added long-distance shooting to his game, making three triples in each game. Two games in, he's averaging 29.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists. 

If he can stay healthy (a huge if) and lead the Clippers to 52-plus wins in a loaded Western Conference, you'd have to think Griffin would be looked at more favorably in terms of MVP odds than someone on a star-studded team like any of the Warriors or Rockets, if Paul returns from his knee injury within a month and affects James Harden's stats even slightly. 

Giannis Antetokounpo and LeBron James look like the two players most likely to win MVP, but 50/1 for Griffin is good value if you think this is the year he stays healthy. If he didn't have a history of injuries, his odds right now would be closer to those of John Wall (28/1) or Towns (25/1).