Pistons center Andre Drummond sounds off on his back-and-forth with big man Joel Embiid and the win over the Sixers Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Auburn Hills – The Pistons’ Andre Drummond and the 76ers’ Joel Embiid will go at it again Saturday in Philadelphia after their much-publicized battle last week in Detroit.
Embiid said he “owns a lot of real estate” in Drummond’s head after the Pistons center was ejected following his second technical foul in Detroit’s 133-132 overtime win.
Embiid embellished slight contact from Drummond on the play that earned Drummond his second tech, a foul that was rescinded by the league the next day.
Drummond clapped back on social media, and the feud was picked up by all the ESPN talking head shows the next day.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey warned that Drummond needs to avoid the pitfalls that come with concentrating on the individual matchup with the Philly star, who had his sixth game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday when he had 41 points and 13 rebounds in a win against the Clippers.
“All of our players have to maintain that approach,” Casey said. “We win as a team, we go at them as a team, we defend as a team. We can’t get caught up in that one-on-one matchup.”
Casey said guard Reggie Bullock is doubtful for Saturday because of a left ankle sprain that forced him to miss the second half and overtime Wednesday at Brooklyn.
“We still are going to hold the cards and see how he feels (Saturday),” Casey said.
Bullock tried to stretch out the injury and returned in the second quarter against the Nets after the injury but was ruled out at halftime.
Casey said Bullock did not practice Friday but received treatment Thursday and Friday at the Pistons practice facility in Auburn Hills.
Bullock has struggled this season, shooting 25 percent on 3-pointers after finishing second in the league at 44.5 percent last season. He missed the opener against Brooklyn with the flu but started the next six games, averaging 10.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Casey expects Henry Ellenson and Khyri Thomas, who were assigned to the Grand Rapids Drive for the G League’s opening weekend, to return to the Pistons next week.
The Pistons declined next season's fourth-year option this week for Ellenson, who scored seven points in his only Detroit appearance this season. The third-year player out of Marquette is averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 58 career NBA games.
Ellenson, 21, has averaged 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23 career G League games.
The 6-foot-3 guard Thomas, the 38th pick of the June draft out of Creighton, has not suited up for the Pistons this season.
The Drive open the season Friday night at the Erie (Pa.) BayHawks. The home opener is Saturday against the Windy City Bulls.
The Drive also have two-way players Zach Lofton and Keenan Evans, in addition to affiliate players Johnny Hamilton and Scottie Lindsey, an undrafted rookie out of Northwestern who scored 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists as a senior for the Wildcats, making 36.2 percent of his 3-pointers.
Jon Horford (Michigan) and Speedy Smith return for the Drive. Among the new faces is Elijah Brown of Oregon, the son of former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown, now an assistant with Golden State.
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report from Wednesday noted that Jared Dudley should’ve been called for a loose ball foul on Drummond in the closing moments of the overtime loss at Brooklyn, as Dudley clamped his arm on the rebound attempt.
However, it also notes that Drummond should’ve been called for a foul earlier on the play, as he pulled Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s jersey on the inbounds pass.
Saturday’s 1 p.m. game will be Detroit’s earliest start this season and is the first of 12 games that begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time or earlier.
Last year, the Pistons went 6-9 in games that began at 5 p.m. EST or earlier.
Philadelphia is 5-0 at home this season and 0-4 on the road.
Jobs for vets
The Pistons will host a military and veteran career fair before Monday’s game.
The career fair, with more than 60 companies and more than 300 veterans and military personnel expected, is at 10 a.m. at Little Caesars Arena. Walk-ups with proper veteran identification can access the fair through the arena’s southwest entrance.
The Pistons will then host a round-robin tournament on the floor, as members of the Marines, Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Air Force will compete.
Reggie Jackson, whose father served in the Air Force, will host a meet and greet for veterans and military personnel after the game against Miami.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.