The Sixers controlled the game throughout, and never trailed in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as six, and up three, with possession, and six seconds remaining. They inbounded the ball to Lou Williams, an 82 percent shooter, who only needed to make one free throw to ice the game. He missed both.
The Pistons came out swinging and built a lead as large as eight in overtime, while the Sixers moped around lackadaisically, still stunned from their fourth quarter collapse. The Sixers made it interesting with a pair of late threes, but the comeback fell just short when Jodie Meeks missed a wild shot as time expired, which would've tied the game.
This was a total stomach punch loss for the Sixers. They've been playing well as of late, and coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season. Winning a road game on the second night of a back-to-back, a week removed from a brutal road trip would've been something to build on. Instead they'll have 72 hours to think about the game they gift-wrapped for the Pistons.
The Sixers are a young, inexperienced team who haven't learned how to win close games. Tonight's three-point loss drops the Sixers to an embarrassing 0-7 in games decided by four or less points this season. But that'll happen when the average age of the nine players who played is 24, and your best player is 20.
More observations after the jump.
- Before Lou Williams missed the free throws, Andres Nocioni was well on his way to being the goat of the game. With 1:30 remaining in the fourth the Pistons isolated Tayshaun Prince in the post, who was one-on-one with Nocioni. Prince scored easily. They next possession the Pistons ran the same exact play, and again Prince scored with ease. Then, for the third consecutive possession the Pistons put the ball in Prince's hands who blew by Nocioni for an easy layup. Not once, not twice, but three times Tayshaun torched Nocioni in a one-minute span, keeping the Pistons alive, and opening the door for the missed free throws.
- Jrue Holiday had another nice game, continuing his hot play. He finished with an efficient 15 points, 12 assists and 4 turnovers. However; most of his numbers came in the first quarter (8 points and 5 assists), where he also picked up his second foul. The early foul trouble completely disrupted his rhythm, and he was basically invisible for the remainder of the game, other than a few defensive stops.
- Evan Turner was terrific tonight, scoring 19 points on 11 shots, along with 5 assists and 5 rebounds. I'll take that line every night. Problem is, the efficient scoring may be fool's gold. All 11 of his shots were jumpers, and only one came in the paint. He showed some craftiness creating space for many of his jumpers, but rarely made his way into the paint. He also played good defense throughout, and probably should've been on Prince late in the game, instead of Nocioni.
- Marreese Speights was terrific in his 14 minutes. He was stroking jumpers in rhythm, and cleaning the defensive glass at an absurd rate (44 DREB%). His defense wasn't spectacular, but if he can play average defense, grab rebounds, and score without being a black hole he'll earn his way into Collins' regular rotation.