Sixers

Embiid questionable again, Milton might return for Sixers vs. Pistons

Sixers

Game 1 of the Sixers’ four-game homestand tips off Thursday.

Let’s get right into the essentials for Sixers-Pistons: 

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m. 
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center 
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 
  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch:

Embiid questionable again

Joel Embiid has been a fixture on the NBA’s injury reports since a knee-to-knee collision during the first quarter of the Sixers’ season opener last Wednesday. He’s questionable against Detroit with right knee soreness.

Embiid called himself “extremely sore” after the Sixers’ loss last Friday to Brooklyn and said he “probably shouldn’t have even played.” Though he’s been determined to push through at less than full health, the Sixers shouldn’t require that from their best player this early in the season. 

It’s also worth noting the 0-3 Pistons are without No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, who’s on G League assignment after spraining his right ankle. Jerami Grant is questionable with a left elbow infection. If Embiid sits, the Sixers should be just fine starting Andre Drummond. 

Through four games, Embiid has averaged 19.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals. 

Milton’s return? 

After a preseason right ankle sprain, Shake Milton has been upgraded to questionable. The impression here is the Sixers have brought him along steadily and that he’s moving well. We’ll see if he suits up. 

Without Ben Simmons, who remains out for personal reasons, the Sixers have been short on ball handling experience. At 25 years old, Milton would immediately become the Sixers’ oldest lead ball handler. Furkan Korkmaz has been the Sixers’ main second-unit point guard. 

 

“That’ll be huge, man,” Danny Green said after Thursday’s shootaround. “That’ll be huge. Our second unit is doing great already, but with him it’ll be huge having a point guard and Furk not having to handle the ball as much. (Korkmaz) can just play make from the wing instead of bringing up the ball.

“It gives us another threat, another scoring threat, another shooter, another ball handler. So it’ll be good to have him back.”

Having to scrap ‘hero ball’ 

The Sixers won’t dwell forever on their first loss to the Knicks since 2017, but Green said they did review film of the game Thursday morning. He thought most of the team’s issues were related to “effort and communication.”

Green was candid as usual in discussing the Sixers’ problems from that defeat. In terms of what went wrong during a second quarter in which the Knicks outscored the Sixers by 23 points, he suggested the team required more purpose and selflessness. 

“Offensively, we kind of didn’t run anything, tried to play hero ball — one guy trying to get us back in the game by himself, and that didn’t work,” he said. “But eventually we slowed down, settled in a little better, started moving the ball and finding each other. But it was too late. We dug ourselves too deep of a hole.”