76ers, Pistons match up without injured frontcourt players


Covington grabbed another four steals to fractionally bump up his average of 1.6, and his plus-minus for this game was +22 - this coming after he was an NBA-best plus-61 in his 127 minutes of action over the previous four games. They remained a half-game behind third-place Cleveland and in front of fifth-place in, which began Tuesday a half-game behind Philadelphia. The 76ers should have the advantage on that side of the ball. He's already a triple-double machine.

The Sixers once again made it look easy as they improved to 47-30, stayed among the top four in the Eastern Conference and posted their ninth straight double-digit victory margin. Detroit led by five after the opening quarter and extended their lead to 14 at the half: the lead never shrank below six the rest of the way.

When scoring more than 100 points, the 76ers are 44-18 and the Pistons are 33-17. James Ennis III, Reggie Bullock (11.2 points), Anthony Tolliver, Langston Galloway, Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard, Jameer Nelson and Jon Leuer all are key pieces for the Pistons rotation. Leuer has been out since October 31 with a sprained ankle: he could be done for the year after surgery. His true shooting percentage (55.4 percent) is also higher than James, which is somewhat surprising considering Simmons is a awful shooter. The Pistons are now 15 in the league in three point field goals with 10.5 per game while ranking tied for 7 by sinking 36.9 percent from downtown. First of all though, the Pistons have to take care of their own business right now.

The games on the 76ers' regular season schedule might be running out, but nothing is changing. But they have not skipped a beat without the Croatian over the past two games, and Embiid's absence - three straight games - has not even resembled a speed bump. If Embid is unable to play, then big man Myles Turner would be expected to play a huge role. Embiid is recovering from a concussion and orbital fracture, while Saric is dealing with a bacterial infection in his right elbow.

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Saric also sat out Sunday's game against the Charlotte Hornets with the same issue.

Both teams have had a player take their game to the next level over their last five games.

Looking at the betting trends, the 76ers are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games, 39-19-1 ATS in their last 59 games against a team with a losing record and 8-0 ATS in their last eight games overall. Detroit needs to be flawless, or close to it, in their last five games while the Bucks need to lose out. Philly shot 54 percent for the game (50-92) and 43 percent from three (9-21). The Sixers would have been a 27-win team if that happened over the course of a full year, although with Embiid sidelined until the postseason, that is going to change one way or the other.