Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers stated the obvious after his team’s loss on Friday: His team is much better when Joel Embiid is in the lineup.
The Sixers’ 11-game home winning streak was snapped with Embiid out for the second consecutive game with a sore left foot.
Philadelphia will try to bounce back from that 126-112 loss to Chicago when it visits Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
“You miss him all over the floor,” Rivers said of Embiid. “But, honestly, I don’t worry about it because he wasn’t in the game. Obviously, with Joel, we are a different team. But we don’t have him. So we have to find a way to win that game (Friday) without guys.”
Embiid has missed 10 games due to a variety of ailments and illnesses this season. The Sixers are hopeful he won’t add to that total on Sunday. Philadelphia has a 6-4 record without Embiid this season.
“He’s doing better,” Rivers said. “But I don’t know the answer to the second part. He’s just working his way back. … We’ll evaluate what he’s going to do going into Detroit.”
Philadelphia had won three straight and 11 of its last 13 prior to Friday. One big positive is that guard Tyrese Maxey appears to be rounding into form. Maxey had a team-high 26 points in his fourth game back from a fractured left foot.
That follows a steady progression. He had nine points in his first game back, 12 in the second and 17 in the third.
James Harden struggled at the offensive end on Friday, going 4-for-17 from the field.
“It was a tough night,” he said. “I feel like there was a lid on the rim. I mean, that’s just part of it. Just chalk it up. Keep pushing.”
Philadelphia only committed seven turnovers but lacked defensive intensity. The Bulls shot 57.1 percent from the field and racked up 74 points during the second and third quarters.
The game on Sunday is actually the front end of a home-and-home set. The Sixers will host the Pistons on Tuesday.
In their first meeting this season, Philadelphia cruised to a 113-93 victory on Dec. 21. Embiid had a team-high 22 points and the Pistons were held to 39.2 percent shooting.
Detroit has been in a win-one, lose-one rut over the past 10 days. The Pistons have followed up a victory with a loss three consecutive times.
The Pistons surprised Golden State 122-119 on Saddiq Bey’s last-second 3-pointer on Wednesday, then fell to San Antonio 121-109 on Friday.
Defense was the issue for Detroit as the Spurs shot 55.7 percent from the field.
“We didn’t dictate the ball at the start of the first half,” guard Jaden Ivey said. “Feel like it comes early, early in the game, you’ve got to get in a rhythm defensively. Just the first half we had some lapses that made them more comfortable late game. That’s on us to figure out how to put us in better position defensively. That hurt us the whole game.”
Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 21 points and Ivey had 20.
Following the back-to-back with the Sixers, the Pistons will open a five-game homestand.
–Field Level Media