Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Important Sunday

*Per usual: Check out the video in the Deep Sixer player on the bottom right (below the Philly.com video player). Lou Williams and Ben Gordon about an hour before tonight's game. Also posted a video of the Sixers being introduced before today's game. My favorite part is at the end, in the dark, while the Pistons are being introduced, you can see Marreese Speights and Royal Ivey dancing. If you want quicker news than provided on the blog -- which has about an hour delay -- follow Deep Sixer on Twitter, click here: Deep Sixer. As for today's inactive player, it remains center Primoz Brezec, who's looking quite nice in his suit coat and jeans.

Important Sunday

First quarter at The Palace.
First quarter at The Palace.

*Per usual: Check out the video in the Deep Sixer player on the bottom right (below the Philly.com video player). Lou Williams and Ben Gordon about an hour before tonight's game. Also posted a video of the Sixers being introduced before today's game. My favorite part is at the end, in the dark, while the Pistons are being introduced, you can see Marreese Speights and Royal Ivey dancing. If you want quicker news than provided on the blog -- which has about an hour delay -- follow Deep Sixer on Twitter, click here: Deep Sixer. As for today's inactive player, it remains center Primoz Brezec, who's looking quite nice in his suit coat and jeans.

Today's game against the Detroit Pistons here at The Palace in Auburn Hills is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start. Detroit, like the New Jersey Nets before them, are hurting. Their two veteran guys, Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton, are out. Prince with a lower back injury, Hamilton with a right ankle sprain. Probable starters for Detroit: Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace, Ben Gordon, and Rodney Stuckey. Detroit is 2-4, Sixers are 3-2.

The Pistons have some bad losses -- to the Thunder, Bucks, and Raptors, but they also beat the Orlando Magic. So something was working, at some time. It's a cliche, here, but I think today's game is more about how the Sixers look, and how some of their struggling guys play. Detroit is a tough opponent and, because of their mentality, it doesn't necessarily matter if they have a few key injuries: They make it tough for people to score.

Three things that should be important today: 

1.) Elton Brand. Brand's minutes have been limited. Prediction is that if this continues (like Brand sitting the final 17 minutes of a very close game like he did against the New Jersey Nets), it's going to become an issue. Talking to Eddie Jordan before today's game, he said he wasn't concerned in the least and that Brand is a professional and understands the emotional ups and downs of playing in the NBA. That's all fine and well, but Brand is a former All-Star and being paid $80 million over five years. I gotta think at some point along the line playing 19 minutes is going to become an issue. We'll see. In talking to Jordan about Brand, there seems to be a disconnect. The things Jordan says -- that Brand is coming off two missed seasons, that he's trying to fit in, that he's "making progress -- certainly indicate that Brand is not tops on Jordan's list. For a 10-year veteran to be "fitting in" and "making progress" ... well, it sounds like what you'd say about a rookie. Keep on eye on Brand's minutes.

2.) Thaddeus Young. Sixers need him to get that outside shot working. 9.1 percent is hurting the Sixers. Keep an eye on his footwork when he catches for the shot. He's been using this jumpstop and it just doesn't seem right. Last year he said he preferred a one-two stop. And for some reason his pre-shot footwork has looked awkward. But Young is a guy that fixes things and gets in the gym to make them better. Perhaps I'll be saying this before every game, but it's because I always think he's the next shot away from getting back on track. Today, he makes two three-pointers ...

3.) The rotation. It was different against the Nets than it had been. We'd been seeing Marreese Speights as the first big guy, but against New Jersey Jason Smith was the first big guy. If we're noticing the unpredicatability, then certainly the guys on the bench are wondering when they might go in the game. Who will be the first big today? First mid-sized guy will be Kapono again? What about the first guard? At some point you'd expect this rotation to settle into a routine.

The Sixers have yet to put together a solid, impressive game. Will they do it today? Of course there will be runs, of course there will be tough spots, but an entire game -- no 41 points allowed in a quarter -- against a formidable opponent. That's the challenge for them.

More after ...

--Kate

About this blog

Keith Pompey is in his first season covering the Sixers for The Inquirer after covering the Temple men’s basketball team for the past three years and Temple football the past two seasons.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Narducci also has a true passion for South Jersey scholastic sports, which he has covered for many years.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
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