CAMDEN, N.J. -- Joel Embiid said Saturday’s game isn’t about an individual matchup with Andre Drummond. His focus is on helping the Sixers beat the Pistons.
But considering what happened the last time they met, it’s very much about the two bigs. And Embiid already let his feelings about Drummond’s game be known.
“No disrespect,” Embiid said after shootaround when asked about Drummond playing by the elbow. “But he can’t shoot. I’ve just got to worry about the defensive coverages that we have as a team.”
The last time they met, Embiid dropped 30 points and nine rebounds in the Sixers Oct. 23 win in Detroit. Following that game he spoke out about the Pistons center, who had posted a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double.
“Defensively, he doesn’t play any defense,” Embiid said after the game, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “When we started the game, he was being aggressive and he was talking, too. … So what I was like [in my mind] ‘You want to do that? I’m going to kick your [butt] then. So that’s what I did.”
When the quote was brought to Drummond’s attention on Twitter, Drummond responded, “See you Dec 2nd” … and an emoji for good measure.
“That means that I’ve already got them mentally,” Embiid said. “For them to go on social media and just start talking whatever just saying something or whatever I think I’ve already got them. I’m excited about the matchup, but it’s about Sixers against Pistons.”
So here it is, Dec. 2 and the 14-7 Pistons are coming into Philadelphia to face the 12-9 Sixers in a contest between two Eastern Conference teams that have clicked early in the season.
Drummond has turned around his dismal free throw shooting from 38.6 percent last season to 63.9 percent. He’s averaging 14.3 points, 15.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
Drummond will be countered by Embiid, who is feeling rested after sitting out Thursday’s game against the Celtics. His playing time has surpassed 30 minutes since playing the Pistons and he comes into his 50th career game averaging 22.9 points, 11.3 boards and 1.8 blocks.
"I'm just going to go out there, do what I do best, that's to be the best defensive player in the league, and help the team win as far as scoring and being a playmaker, too," Embiid said. "It's a Saturday night, there's going to be a lot of fans, Detroit is a pretty good team. Right now they've been doing great since we last played them so there's a lot to be excited about."