After an impressive four-point win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers remained in Detroit, Michigan, as they were set to wrap up a two-game series against the Pistons on Monday.
The circumstances on Monday night were slightly different for the Sixers. As their starting big man, Joel Embiid, reported tightness in his back on Sunday, the 76ers listed him as questionable ahead of Monday night's matchup.
As expected, the Sixers ruled Embiid out hours before tip-off on Monday. Although Sixers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear Embiid's setback isn't serious, the Sixers didn't want to put Embiid at risk -- so they ruled out for the night.
Without Embiid on the floor, the Sixers relied on Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris to step up and fill the void. Unfortunately for Simmons, he got into early foul trouble as he picked up two fouls in under five minutes. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers pulled Simmons off the court after about four minutes of action to avoid further issues early on.
Meanwhile, Tobias Harris had himself a solid opening quarter as he shot five-for-seven from the field, totaling for 12 points in over ten minutes of action. While Harris had a decent opening quarter, his lone early performance wasn't enough for the 76ers to keep up. Through the first quarter, the Sixers trailed the Pistons 34-23.
Sixers starting shooting guard Seth Curry and rookie reserve Tyrese Maxey both stepped up in the second quarter as they accounted for seven points apiece. Despite getting outscored 30-27 and looking off on both sides of the court, the Sixers needed to come out firing in the third quarter to avoid a blowout on the road as they trailed 14 points going into the locker room.
The Sixers came out firing in the second half, looking much more energized from the jump. They couldn't sustain the energy, though. After going on a small run at the beginning of the third quarter, the 76ers struggled offensively once again as they shot just 37-percent from the field and 33-percent from beyond-the-arc.
While the Pistons shot a lot better than the 76ers, Philly outscored Detroit 26-25, closing in on their opponent's lead and making it a 13-point game before going into the final quarter of the night.
The theme of the night kept up in the final 12 minutes. Although there were times the Sixers seemed fit to go on a run, they never fully established a groove and struggled to climb back and make it a game. Once again, without Joel Embiid, the 76ers fell short on the road on Monday night as they took a 119-104 loss to the Pistons.
With that loss, the Sixers move on with a 12-6 record. They'll return home this week with a Wednesday night matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. Whether Joel Embiid will be back for the matchup or not is still unknown, but the Sixers are hopeful he'll get the green light to go as they've struggled a lot without this year.