02/25/11 6:27 pm EST
This Friday evening edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, the Detroit Pistons who are the only thing standing between the 76ers and a .500 record.
That’s right Philadunkia nation, a win at home tonight would pull the Sixers even at 29-29. That’s a pretty unbelievable feat considering the 3-13 start this team put up. When the Sixers win tonight (and we believe they will secure a W down at the WFC), it will mark the first time they have been able to boast being a .500 team since November 11th 2009. To say that it’s been a long time coming is an understatement.
Despite an abundance of confidence in the 7-6 tonight, we do have two areas of concern for the Sixers in this game. The first is rookie big Greg Monroe. He’s really come into his own recently (12 ppg. & 8.8 rpg. this month) and hit for a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds the other night. We all know that the Sixers have trouble defending strong and talented bigs. Also look out for Sixer killer Rodney Stuckey. Detroit’s leading scorer (15.1 ppg) has averaged 24.7 during his last three visits to Philadelphia. If Monroe and Stuckey get going early and give the Pistons some confidence, it may be enough to pump some life into this team and spark a rally for an upset. Don’t forget the Pistons beat the Sixers into Detroit back in January (112-109).
Those two concerns aside, we strongly believe the Sixers’ defense is too good and we are just too talented for the chaos that masquerades as the Pistons to have any real chance tonight. The Pistons are tied for last in the NBA with 90.9 points scored per game on the road. We all know that the Sixers can play the lockdown (96.8), so don’t expect a big scoring night from Detroit. We also don’t think the Pistons can stay with the Sixers offensive weapons. We especially like the chances of AI9 regaining his scoring touch tonight as ‘Dre is averaging 21.0 points per night in his last nine runs vs. the Pistons.
The usual solid defense, Brand and Holiday scoring the ball, solid contributions off the bench from Thad and Louis, capped off by a big night from ‘Dre will be more then enough to produce a W for the Sixers tonight.
For a little more insight into the Pistons team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Dan Feldman from pistonpowered.com to answer two questions on the Pistons from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Detroit squad from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : The Pistons were unable to unload Rip Hamilton before the trade deadline. It’s sort of wishful thinking but some of us here would like to see him “come home” and play for the Sixers in our playoff run this year. So we wondering if you think he will get bought out and been on another roster soon?
Dan Feldman @ pistonpowered.com : Not much of a chance. With the Pistons for sale, I doubt Karen Davidson will pay Hamilton’s buyout. That window closed for now when Hamilton couldn’t agree to a buyout with Cleveland.
Philadunkia : The Pistons are struggling this year and have lost 5 of their last 6, but do you still hold any glimmer of hope that they can catch Indiana for the 8th and final seed in the East or are they done for 2010-11?
Dan Feldman @ pistonpowered.com : None. Teams this far back this late don’t make the playoffs. And, as you said, it’s not like the Pistons are trending in the right direction.
Two Points of Analysisfrom Dan Feldman @ pistonpowered.com :
1. Greg Monroe has really improved a ton during the season. He hunts down rebounds, excels in the pick-and-roll and plays decent defense. After watching him, I’m curious whether 76ers fans would prefer to have him or Evan Turner (and I’m high on Turner).
2. Five Pistons missed today’s shootaround, and two more showed up late. The team’s problemsare spiraling out of control, and the 76ers are probably in position to pick up an easy win. Philadelphia better come out hard, though, if John Kuester suspends the offending players. Their replacements will probably have some energy in rare, expanded roles.
Our thanks to Dan Feldman for his insights.