76ers

Sixers 117, Pistons 111: No Joel Embiid, no problem in Detroit

Sixers 117, Pistons 111: No Joel Embiid, no problem in Detroit

BOX SCORE 

Joel Embiid is a large presence for the Sixers, literally and metaphorically. 

Embiid sat on Friday night for his first game of the season, with head coach Brett Brown giving the big man some needed rest, and the Sixers felt his absence.

Yet the Sixers rallied from a 15-point deficit in Detroit to top the Pistons, 117-111, led by Jimmy Butler's 38 points, six rebounds and six assists.  

With the win, the Sixers are 18-9 on the season.

• While Butler had played together with Ben Simmons for 30.7 of his 33.3 minutes per game, head coach Brett Brown staggered his two stars’ minutes much more without Embiid. 

There was a big offensive burden on Butler, who matched his season-high of 27 field goal attempts from Wednesday night in Toronto.

Butler had no problem assuming that responsibility. He regularly created his own shots when the offense stagnated and, as is his trademark, nailed a couple key shots in the fourth period.

Simmons had a typically efficient night, with 18 points on 8 for 11 shooting, 13 rebounds and six assists.

• Amir Johnson got his first start of the season in place of Embiid. Johnson showed some of the scrappy credentials that won him the NBA’s Hustle Award last year, creating deflections and diving on the floor for loose balls. 

However, Johnson has a small fraction of Embiid’s talent. 

He didn’t have much success defensively against Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, and he offered very little offensively besides dribble handoffs, screens and one of his distinct, slow motion three-pointers, which he missed.

Johnson fouled out in 16 minutes.

• Detroit built a sizable lead in the second quarter, scoring 41 points in the period. In the big picture, the fact that the Sixers just don’t have the personnel to fit their switch-heavy defense remains a concern. At one point, Landry Shamet got switched onto Griffin and scored on, then somehow ended up on Drummond the very next possession. 

Though some of the defensive issues Friday night can be attributed to Embiid’s absence, it’s too easy for opponents to take advantage of the Sixers’ lack of competent, switchable defenders.

• While there are fundamental issues with the defense, you can’t question the effort. The Sixers rallied from a 15-point deficit in the third period, spurred by sharp defensive rotations, the occasional smart double team on Griffin, and a few missed open looks by Detroit. 

• The Sixers received valuable contributions from Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala, who combined for 28 points on 11 for 18 shooting. 

Muscala was especially vital, with three important blocks in the fourth and a heat check three-pointer to give the Sixers a 108-100 lead.

Chandler was a game-high plus-23.

• Griffin, who had 31 points and 12 rebounds, had an Embiid-like night in terms of his ability to get to the foul line, taking 24 free throws. 

He attempted more foul shots than the entire Sixers team — the Sixers were 20 for 21 from the foul line without Embiid, the NBA leader in free throw attempts. 

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Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Stephen A. Smith's track record of predicting things is suspect to say the least.

So it's with great trepidation that Philadelphia 76ers fans should watch the below clip in which he predicts an NBA Finals appearance for Brett Brown's club this coming season.

Smith made the prediction on ESPN's First Take on Friday morning while sitting alongside NBA legend Magic Johnson (the joke about tampering with Giannis may have been the highlight of the segment).

"The Philadelphia 76ers are going to the NBA Finals," Smith declares. "I'm going to defer to my man Jalen Rose when he points out that Boston arguably has the best perimeter shooting team. We can't ignore that. Toronto lost Kawhi, ain't nothing to discuss. The Greek Freak, as phenomenal as he is, the combo of not having a reliable perimeter shot combined with Malcolm Brogdon being in Indiana..."

"My attitude is, I don't like the fact that Philly lost JJ Redick, that's a big loss to me," Smith continues. "The fact that Boston no longer has Al Horford and the Sixers do, not only somebody to pair with Embiid but to spell him whenever he's out. I'm going to believe Ben Simmons has been working on his shot. I'm going to believe Tobias Harris doesn't have to worry about co-existing with Jimmy Butler and that's a plus. I'm going to believe Josh Richardson can play at both ends of the floor..."

"I'm a little suspect on their bench, but I think the Sixers are going to be playing in June."

On the bright side for Philly fans, it's not like Smith is making some bold proclamation here. FiveThirtyEight's prediction model actually gives the Sixers the best chances of making the Finals of any team in the NBA given the East's weaker make up than the West. In fact, they give the Sixers almost twice as good a chance of doing so than the next closest Eastern contender the Bucks (54% vs. 27%).

So Stephen A. isn't going out on a limb, but it never feels great when he picks your squad in anything.

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Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

76ers_red_statement_jersey.jpg
@ChrisHeck76

Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

The Sixers' Statement Edition jerseys last year were the red uniforms that said "Sixers" across the front in an interesting script. It appears those jerseys will be different for the 2019-2020 season.

Chris Heck, President of the Sixers and Mr. #OnBrand, tweeted out an image of the new jerseys that look quite similar to last season's but instead of "Sixers" across the front they have the familiar "Phila" in script.

Give it a look below:

The jerseys also have the familiar stars down the side of the jersey. The team hasn't made an official announcement just yet so it's unclear what other details may have changed from season to season.

This Statement Edition will join the two regular jerseys, Icon Edition (standard blue) and Association Edition (standard white), alongside the recently unveiled Classic Edition jerseys that feature a throwback to the 70s look with that very interesting "Seventy Sixers" across the front and Ben Simmons sitting in a dope old-school car.

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