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It didn’t start the right way. The Sixers opened up a 19-4 lead behind seven points from Thaddeus Young and six points from Evan Turner. The Pistons couldn’t the side of the basket, let alone hit a basket.
Then head coach Maurice Cheeks pulled Greg Monroe in favor of Kyle Singler and Singler seemed to provide a spark. A Singler steal set up a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope layup. Caldwell-Pope then knocked down a triple and Josh Smith of all people had back-to-back 3′s to bring the Pistons to within 29-17. Later, Singler made a layup to make it a 36-28 deficit and Smith blocked a Tony Wroten layup and that ended the first quarter, Philadelphia led 36-28.
The Sixers didn’t let up in the second quarter as Young and rookie Michael Carter-Williams were scoring at will on the Pistons defense. The 76ers led 63-50 before Smith found Andre Drummond for a jam and a free throw and a Singler layup brought Detroit to within 63-55 at the half.
Now recently, the Pistons have been just terrible in the second half of games. Tonight, they were terrible in the first half. So, something different?
It didn’t start that way as James Anderson and Young had back-to-back easy buckets for a 12 point lead before the Pistons began to stir.
They went on a 15-2 run behind Caldwell-Pope, Smith, and Brandon Jennings. Jennings set up Caldwell-Pope for a layup and a 3 before Smith knocked down a jumper. Jennings then knocked down a tough 3-pointer to give the Pistons a 70-69 lead.
Young and Anderson had back-to-back buckets to give Philadelphia a 73-70 lead, but Detroit would answer after Will Bynum knocked down a 3 and Smith found Jennings for another 3 and a 76-73 lead. Smith had a put back, found Singler for a layup, and then had a bucket to help the Pistons to an 84-81 lead after three. The Pistons won the third quarter 29-18. This comes after losing the third quarter to the Toronto Raptors the other night 34-20.
In the fourth, Bynum started to do Will Bynum type activities. Bynum scored on a Caldwell-Pope steal, banked in a jumper over Carter-Williams, then sized up the rookie for another jumper, and found Caldwell-Pope for another jumper for a 94-90 lead.
After a Spencer Hawes triple that brought the Sixers to within 98-96, the Pistons went on a 7-2 run to ice the game. Jennings found Drummond for a vicious slam, then Jennings found him again for an easy bucket, after Drummond blocked Carter-Williams, Bynum found Jennings for a big triple for a 105-98 lead. The Pistons iced it with free throws from there.
The six game losing skid ended with a 114-104 victory.
Smith had a game for the ages. He had 22 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks, and four steals. Not only did he come up just one steal short of the rare 5X5 game, he’s only the third player in NBA history to put up those type of numbers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon are the other two. On the other hand, Smith shot 8/23 overall and was 2/8 from deep. Do with those stats as you will.
Drummond had 11, 12 boards, and six blocks, Monroe had 15 and 10, and Jennings had 19. Singler and Bynum added 16 each off the bench.
Detroit had a 62-42 rebounding advantage and blocked 14 shots. Drummond and Smith led the way in that category
First things first, it was just the 76ers. So let’s not go thinking crazy and think this team is better than it is. The 76ers are still an NBA team with professional athletes, and to comeback on the road is always impressive, but they shouldn’t have put themselves in that position in the first place.
Now the challenge becomes, what do you do now? They go back to The Palace tomorrow night to face the surprising Phoenix Suns. They’re 6-12 at home so do they take this play with them back home? That’s their challenge.