NBA Basketball

76ers hope to make it two in a row over Pistons

Just three days after the Philadelphia 76ers' 117-111 win at Detroit on Friday, the 76ers host the Pistons on Monday at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center.

Last time they met, Detroit had it easy: Philadelphia's hulking center Joel Embiid was given the night off to rest. That didn't do much to alter the score, not with the Pistons shooting 42 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range.

In Embiid's absence, Jimmy Butler had 38 points, his second straight game with 38, matching his single-game high during his brief 76ers tenure.

"I just think that collectively they found another place to go," head coach Brett Brown said. "And we get down 15 points and we're on the road and you don't have Joel to sort of regroup and stay committed and have a belief that it's still a possibility to win this game in itself was a statement. This was our best game of the year under those circumstances."

Mike Muscala, Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick each added 18 for Philadelphia, which shot 49 percent from the field.

"Those numbers that you said, those were all true, but I thought defensively at the end of the game, the last five, six minutes, (Muscala) was excellent," Brown said. "We needed it all. His versatility, where he can take (Andre) Drummond away from the basket and make those perimeter shots - I thought that too was excellent."

On Friday -- which marked the third times the two teams have met already this season, which the 76ers sporting a 2-1 lead -- solid if unspectacular, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Blake Griffin led the way with 31 points and 10 rebounds. They were solid enough.

But rookie guard Bruce Brown, who started in place of the injured Reggie Bullock (ankle) and Stanley Johnson (knee), was overmatched by Butler and finished with a negative-21 plus/minus ratio.

"I think our disposition during those moments, our lack of focus, concentration out of timeouts was really bad tonight," Griffin said after the game. "It's been bad. That's not winning basketball. That's how you get beat."

It won't be easy this time around for the Pistons, either, not with Embiid back and coming off yet another loss, a 116-108 loss to New Orleans, which marked Detroit's fourth straight loss after five straight wins.

The Pistons are also plagued by injuries at the moment, with Bullock, Johnson and backup point guard Ish Smith (right abductor tear) - all important members of the backcourt rotation - out.

"I know Ish is the spirit of our team and the spirit of the second unit," Detroit coach Dwane Casey said before Friday's game. "His speed kind of changes the game, you always depend on him to change the game with his speed, pushing the ball and speeding up the game when he comes in. We will miss him, but we don't want to rush him out because those injuries are tough to bounce back from. I know he is going to work his butt off to come back, be back and be fresh."

Updated December 9, 2018

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