Keys to Sixers-Pistons

The free falling Sixers (6-11) visit the 6-10 Detroit Pistons today at the Palace of Auburn Hills in a game that certainly won’t get much attention in the Delaware Valley until the Eagles and Cardinals get done their football game. Here’s a look at some of the keys for the Sixers against the Pistons, coached by Sixer legend Maurice Cheeks:

*Equal Detroit’s bench: The Pistons leading scorer is Rodney Stuckey at just under 17 a game. He comes off the bench for Cheeks. The Sixers backups will be the first to get matched with Stuckey, so Tony Wroten and company will have to do a good job of keeping him out of the lane, something the Sixers were horrible at doing against New Orleans on Friday night.

*Stay even on the boards: In Andre Drummond (11.8), Greg Monroe (8.6) and Josh Smith (7.3) the Pistons have a trio of strong rebounders. That is not an area of strength for the Sixers. They’ll have to get strong board games from the guards as well as big men in order to stay close with Detroit. Drummond leads the NBA in field goal percentage at 63.6 percent.

*Be more well-rounded defensively: In Friday’s loss to the Pelicans, the Sixers gave up wide-open shots from the outside early. They seemed to make an adjustment on getting out on shooters, but in so doing left lanes to the basket wide open. The second half was practically layup practice for New Orleans. The theme is the same, to take away the paint first, the outside shot second. They have to get better at doing both today. 

*Get more involvement from James Anderson: The starting shooting guard has scored just 11 points over the past two game after averaging 12.6 in the previous five. When he gets involved, especially going to the basket, it makes things a lot easier offensively for the other players on the court.

*Protect the basketball: Turning the ball over is something that this young, fast-paced team is going to do, but it can’t be doing it at an alarming pace. Anywhere from 15-18 is doable, getting in the 20’s is not good at all.

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