DETROIT–The Philadelphia 76ers were short-handed on Sunday afternoon as they invaded the Little Caesars Arena to take on the Detroit Pistons, but it wouldn’t matter against a struggling Pistons team.
Despite not missing Joel Embiid and PJ Tucker, the Sixers were able to pick up a rather easy ???-??? win. Philadelphia built a 17-point lead in the first half and the Pistons never really threatened in the second half as the Sixers were able to bounce back from a loss at home. James Harden finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in an excellent day for him on the floor.
Montrezl Harrell drew the start and had 20 points and six rebounds, Tyrese Maxey added 23 to lead Philadelphia, and Tobias Harris had 12 and five rebounds. Georges Niang had 14 and Paul Reed added 16 and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Here are the player grades following the win:
James Harden: A+
Looking to bounce back from a tough night in the loss to the Chicago Bulls, Harden was aggressive to start this one. He was constantly getting into the paint and that forced the Pistons to collapse. The two-man game between him and Harrell was effective to start as they seemed to be in sync with the way they were able to find offense. Overall, Harden was terrific in all facets of the game and he had a triple-double 30 seconds into the second half. He looked locked in from the get-go and it set the tone for the Sixers.
The burst continues to come back game after game for Maxey. The young man was living in the paint in this one constantly getting to the basket and the way he can finish over defenders is so impressive for somebody with a smaller build. The 3-point shot wasn’t there for him in this one, but the fact that he was able to get to the basket as often as he did is a huge sign.
De’Anthony Melton: B-
He didn’t do much on the offensive end in this one, but Melton was great on defense. Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey had nowhere to go when defended by Melton in this one. He also blocked a Killian Hayes jumper as he was terrific on the defensive end all day long.
With the Sixers missing Embiid and Tucker in this one, it was up to Harris to give more both on offense and with his rebounding effort on the glass. He was constantly around the basket being able to pull down rebounds in traffic and was a big part of their success in that department. Offensively, he wasn’t efficient, but he was able to score enough to help on that end of the floor.
Montrezl Harrell: A+
The comfort level between the veteran big man and Harden was evident to start the day. Harrell has such nice hands that he can make catches in traffic and be able to finish over taller defenders. One has to wonder if this is a look the Sixers will turn to in the future when Embiid can’t give it a go. He was active on the glass, he was good defensively, and he was able to score efficiently. This was a terrifying performance for him.
Georges Niang A
The Minivan had a rough start as he was called for a flagrant-1 foul, but he made up for it by knocking down two quick triples in the second quarter by using his basketball IQ. The Pistons have a lot of young players who can make some mistakes on the defensive end so he would use that against them by moving off the ball.
Matisse Thybulle: A
This was a good Thybulle game. He forced Pistons shooter Alec Burks into a travel by playing excellent defense in the corner and he was able to knock down a corner triple with no hesitation. This is the type of game the Sixers need from Thybulle on a regular basis on both ends of the floor.
Paul Reed: A+
The Sixers had to turn to Reed with the absence of Embiid and Tucker and he played very well in his minutes on the floor. He was active around the glass, he was able to carve out some space for himself for baskets against Isaiah Stewart and he had an overall great run off the bench.
Shake Milton: B
The skilled veteran out of SMU made a nice impact in his initial run. He went right to it getting to the basket and he then knocked down a triple. He didn’t have a great day defensively, but he was able to make up for it with his offensive production and his ability to get his teammates involved.