|Simmons, Sixers looking for first win|
Ben Simmons reinforced during the first week of the season why the Philadelphia 76ers made him the first pick of the 2016 draft. That still hasn't translated into any victories.
Simmons recorded double-doubles in each of those games and just missed a triple-double by two assists at Toronto on Saturday. That didn't prevent the Sixers from getting blown out by the Raptors, 128-94. Philadelphia, which lost its first two games to the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics, will try again to break into the win column with a road game at the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
"To me, (the stat line) looks great but I'd rather have a win, honestly," said Simmons, who is averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists. "I'd rather have three wins than double-doubles."
Simmons missed all of last season after breaking his right foot. Now healthy, the 6-foot-10 playmaker is creating matchup problems for opposing defenses.
"I'm not really paying attention to what the numbers say. I think I know what the stats say below me (on the sheet) but when you're coaching and feeling the game, you're feeling that he has the ability to be incredibly special," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "You feel like immediately that the stuff he does on the floor is very unique. His size and burst of speed and his ability to get to the rim and take hits, all those things are kind of wrapped up more to me in athleticism."
Philadelphia should get a boost on Monday from the return of center Joel Embiid. He didn't the Raptors because he hasn't been cleared to play back-to-backs after undergoing knee surgery in March. He's averaging 14.5 points and 13.5 rebounds.
"I knew the first three games were going to be difficult," Brown said. "I knew coming into this building (at Toronto) on a back-to-back was going to be difficult. But you're certainly not expecting it to be that margin of a deficit. I give Toronto credit but we've got a lot of work to do. We look forward to getting Joel back in this and continuing to learn how to play the group."
Detroit (2-1) is coming off a 111-107 road victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday. The Pistons rallied from a 21-point deficit, outscoring the Knicks 60-43 in the second half.
"Everything changed in the second half," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "The whole defense changed the entire second half. We finished up the game well."
Forward Tobias Harris has been the Pistons' top player in the early going, averaging 24.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. He pumped in 31 points at Madison Square Garden.
"We didn't get discouraged," Harris said. "We were able to make shots at the end but the biggest thing was the defense."
Another encouraging development for the Pistons has been the play of point guard Reggie Jackson. Slowed by a knee injury last season, Jackson is averaging 16.7 points, 6.7 assists, 2.0 steals and just 1.7 turnovers. He had seven points during the fourth-quarter rally at New York.
"He was attacking the basket and then you put the ball in his hands and he makes all seven free throws, finished out the game really, really well," Van Gundy said. "The thing for us is Reggie's making so much greater effort at the defensive end of the floor. That's the biggest change."
The Pistons will be playing their second regular-season game at their new home, Little Caesars Arena. They defeated the Charlotte Hornets in their first outing there on Wednesday.