Pistons head out to Philly


  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (0-8) at Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)
  • Date: November 14, 2012
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After losing a tough contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, the Detroit Pistons will try to bounce back tonight when they take on a Philadelphia 76ers team looking to rebound from a home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tonight’s game should prove to be intriguing because it will be a contest of weakness versus weakness.

Doug Collins’ crew runs multiple sets (curl screens, pin downs, screen the screener actions, etc..) on the offensive end with the intent of getting open mid-range jumpers. His players will occasionally put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, but this mostly comes in the form of fast break points. Thus, the 76ers score 34.3 points in the paint per game (28th in the NBA), which is aided by their 15.7 fast break points per game (ninth in the league). As previously stated, scoring on the interior is not an area of strength for Philadelphia.

Detroit makes this matchup compelling because one of their biggest weaknesses is their inability to stop opponents from scoring at the rim, as evidenced by their 49 points in the paint allowed per game (worst in the league). One can only wonder if Collins will deviate from his typical drive and kick philosophy to instead try to attack a Pistons team that’s been unable to provide any interior resistance so far this season. Getting away from their core values as a basketball group could however compromise the team’s identity as players with no business of putting the ball on the floor could choose to do so.

On the other side of the ball, Philadelphia’s defensive philosophy relies on the idea of keeping the ball out of the paint at all costs. Against the Milwaukee Bucks — a team with a diminutive backcourt like the Pistons — the 76ers big men played off ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll and retreated to the paint. Every other action away from the ball that could potentially spring a player free resulted in the defenders backing away from the screen action just in case a player cut to the basket.

The end result is that the Sixers prefer to allow players to shake loose out on the perimeter as opposed to anywhere else on the court.

The Pistons will have to get creative against the 76ers because they lack the shooters needed to make them pay for the defensive strategy.

This is where going to the pick-and-roll as well as post up situations can be beneficial for Detroit. Indeed, Philly is a good team defensively as a unit, but their individual interior defenders aren’t exactly stoppers. Thus, a patient approach with the ball going inside and then out could be a way of moving the defense and getting them out of position and then driving the ball to the rim.

The Pistons’ offense will be tested tonight, but they need to stay the course and also hit the glass for second chance opportunities at the expense of the 76ers defense.

Read about the 76ers


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