The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Detroit Pistons Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center 108-103. The victory tipped off a three-game home stand. Philadelphia improved their record to 13-9 this season and are now 2-0 against Detroit after beating them back in October in Detroit 97-86. Joel Embiid had 30 points and Ben Simmons notched his first career triple double.
Much of the talk coming into last night’s game was the twitter beef between Joel and Piston’s big man Andre Drummond. After the last game vs the Sixers Embiid was asked how he was able to score at will, mostly against Drummond. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Embiid watched tape of Drummond’s defense and came to the conclusion that he has none.
“Defensively, he doesn’t play any defense.” Embiid joked. “When we started the game, he was being aggressive and he was doing a lot of talking too…. So, what I was like [in my mind], “You want to do that? I’m going to kick your [butt] then. “So that’s what I did”.
Andre Drummond heard Embiid’s comments after the game and responded on twitter: “See you December 2nd”. After that comment Drummond did an interview with NBA TV, and explained why he was looking forward to the rematch with Embiid. “You’ve gotta respect the man’s game. He’s a hell of a player,” Drummond said. “But he’s gotta see me three or four more times this season, so it’s not gonna happen more than once.”
As last night’s game started it was evident that the Sixers were going to go to Embiid early and often. The first couple of plays were to Joel and he was able to bully Drummond to get where he wanted in the lane, and that would be the story for most of the first half. Embiid muscled his way to 15 points and 4 rebounds, and the Sixers took a 63-47 lead into the locker room and left fans feeling this would be a runaway.
The third quarter started and became quickly evident that the game would not go as planned at the end of the first half. Philadelphia started the third taking several lazy shots and coughed up the ball leading to Detroit making back to back three-point baskets which caused coach Brett Brown to call a time out. Philadelphia continued the bad play throughout the third committing several turnovers and only managing 17 points total for the quarter. The game was tied at 80 at the end of the third and the Sixers now found themselves in a dog fight.
The fourth quarter was just as expected it would be. The teams traded leads, and nobody seemed to want to pull away. Back and forth the teams went trading big baskets. The big key in this quarter however was the foul trouble of Drummond. The Sixers recognized that the Piston big man was starting to have trouble guarding Embiid and that Detroit was sending several double teams Joel’s way. Ben Simmons and the team kept feeding Embiid down low and in a span of less than two minutes saw Drummond commit his 5th and 6th fouls causing him to take a seat on the bench for the remainder of the game.
The Sixers held on after Drummond fouled out and closed the game making their free throws. Joel Embiid ended up with 25 points and 10 rebounds and Robert Covington chipped in 25 of his own on 6 of 13 from the 3pt line. Detroit was paced by Tobias Harris with 27 points and guard Reggie Jackson who had 25 points. The battle of the two big men was won by Joel Embiid for the second time, even though Drummond had a nice all-around game with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
After the game coach Brown was asked how Joel’s talking in social media when he’s ready to face a big test like Drummond ramps up his level of play, Brown responded, “I think Joel thrives on that.”
In the locker room after the game Joel Embiid was asked who won the battle between him and Drummond, He responded “The Sixers. We won the game. This wasn’t about any of us, it was about the Sixers vs the Pistons and we got the win and I’m happy about that.”
Coach Brown was also asked about being happy just to come away with a win after letting go of such a big lead and then hanging on at the end, Coach responded, “I mean, a little bit. It’s good to be able to take something that you must improve on and deliver it after a win. We understand where our problems were in this game, and to be able to identify those and still be able to come in and win is a great thing. That’s a good team, they beat the Celtics, they beat Golden State, and we felt all that. But there’s still so much to learn from this game for us.”
The Sixers are back home Monday night for game two of the three game home set when they take on Devin Booker and the 8-15 Phoenix Suns. Philadelphia took both matchups vs Phoenix last season.