Updated: 3:05 p.m.
Before they’re in the spotlight on Christmas vs. the Bucks, the 21-10 Sixers have a quick road trip.
Here are the essentials for Monday night’s game against the 11-19 Detroit Pistons:
When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Little Caesars Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
A long list of injuries and illnesses
Joel Embiid and Raul Neto both missed shootaround due to illness, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters. Neto is probable, while Embiid will play after being listed as questionable. Matisse Thybulle is sidelined by a right knee sprain and bruise.
Norvel Pelle has been ahead of Kyle O’Quinn recently in the center rotation, so he’d likely be the Sixers’ backup big man if Embiid doesn’t play.
The Pistons have a much more extensive injury report. Reggie Jackson (lower back stress reaction), Luke Kennard (bilateral knee sorenss), Khyri Thomas (right foot surgery) and Bruce Brown (bilateral calf soreness) are out, while Blake Griffin (flu) will play, and Derrick Rose (left knee soreness) and Christian Wood (left knee bone bruise) are probable.
Another chance for Milton?
With Thybulle's injury, the Sixers have called up Shake Milton.
In his past three games with the Blue Coats, Milton averaged 29 points and shot 50 percent from three-point range. More than the numbers, the fact that he was able to get minutes and play confidently in the G League is encouraging.
His season was somewhat derailed by the right knee injury he sustained back on Oct. 28, but this could be an opportunity for Milton to work his way back into the Sixers’ rotation. If the Sixers continue to face zone defenses, his shooting might be a valuable skill.
Milton had 10 points in 12 minutes during the Sixers’ comeback win over Detroit on Oct. 26.
Horford’s shooting slump
Al Horford is 4 for his last 26 (15.4 percent) from three. According to NBA.com/Stats, four of those shots have been “open,” meaning the closest defender was four to six feet away, and the other 22 have been “wide open,” with the nearest defender six-plus feet away.
The Sixers clearly need Horford to hit those good looks at a better rate. Whether it’s against a zone defense or in lineups alongside Embiid, opponents will continue to let Horford take threes. Right now, it makes sense to prefer an open shot from Horford over an Embiid post-up, a Ben Simmons drive or almost anything else in the Sixers’ offense.
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