By Matt Leon & Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After splitting a home-and-home series with the Boston Celtics, losing the second game in Boston Saturday night, the Sixers are back at the Center tonight to host the Detroit Pistons.
The Sixers sit at 11-9, they are tied with those Celtics for third place in the Atlantic Division. Both teams are 4 games behind the first-place New York Knicks, and just a half game behind the second-place Brooklyn Nets.
Sixers head coach Doug Collins seems to still be finding a rotation he’s comfortable with. The team, built around still-missing center Andrew Bynum, has also been without shooting guard Nick Young. Young’s absence has meant more minutes for journeyman Damien Wilkins, and rookie Maalik Wayns. As Collins searches for an effective frontcourt rotation, rookie Arnett Moultrie has received his biggest opportunity of the season so far, averaging almost 10 minutes per game for the last three games.
The Pistons are just 7-15, but they are playing better basketball these days. Detroit is 7-7 since starting the season 0-8 and it should be noted that their first win after that awful start came in South Philadelphia against the Sixers back on November 14th. Sixers did very little right in that 94-76 loss, shooting just 29.8% from the field, 65.6% from the line while getting outrebounded by 19.
Detroit has seen improved play from Rodney Stuckey, who didn’t play (flu) when the teams last met. Stuckey has averaged 17 points, over seven assists and four rebounds per game over the last three games.
The loss to the Pistons hasn’t been the only disappointing effort at home from the Sixers this season. A 105-88 loss to the Timberwolves last Wednesday saw the Sixers down by more than 20 points for most of the game, unable to guard most everyone on the Wolves.
Though the Sixers in their current state can’t be expected to compete with the top teams in the NBA regularly, losing by 20 points at home to teams with comparable to even less talent isn’t something they can make a habit of and still expect to make the playoffs.
KYW’s Matt Leon spoke with Tom Moore, Sixers beat writer for phillyburbs.com and Calkins Media, about this match-up with the Pistons.
LISTEN: Matt Leon interviews Tom Moore
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.