It was a meaningless game for both teams as the Philadelphia 76ers traveled to Detroit to take on B-Rabbit, Papa Doc, Future, and the rest of the Detroit Pistons in front of a crowd of 41 of the most passionate fans Detroit has to offer. The Pistons, despite having quite possibly the most enviable starting front court in all of basketball, have been realistically out of playoff contention for the majority of the season. The Sixers weren't too far behind them and both teams are just playing out the schedule at this point.
As of last night we learned that this game would be Doug Collins' second to last as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and a new era would shortly be upon us. But before we can get to speculation on what direction this team will soon be headed, a Sixers/Pistons game worthy of a $40 Pay-Per-View charge had to happen.
It started just how the last Sixer game I covered (last week against the Hawks) went; not too much defense and easy looks for the opposition. At one point, Kyle Singler was so wide open that I'm assuming he purposely missed a three-point attempt thinking a timeout had been called and the Sixers were already in a huddle. Can't waste makes on shots that don't matter, kids.
Despite six first quarter turnovers, Greg Monroe and the Pistons jumped out on top after the first frame up seven on the Sixers thanks to countless easy buckets in the lane and free points from the charity stripe (writing that made me crave Fruit Stripe Gum).
Career Sixer-killer Will Bynum joined in on Monroe's fun, weaving his way into the lane, and trolling every Sixer fan with his last name. Detroit's Bynum finished the first half with ten more points and five more assist than Philadelphia's Bynum has collected through the entire season. Sixers.
Despite Bynum and Monroe's impressive first half lines, especially Monroe who had twelve points on just four shots, the Sixers took a three-point halftime lead into the locker room thanks to some inspired play from free agent to be Dorell Wright.
Mr. Wright (Now) knocked down a couple threes, got to the basket and the free throw line (nine attempts, I'll take it), and even involved his teammates (see Thaddeus Young's monster dunk) to lead a second quarter run for the Sixers that saw them outscore the Pistons in the second frame by ten points.
That second quarter proved to be tonight's anomaly as the Pistons rolled the rest of the way behind the Monroe/Bynum duo. Monroe put all Sixers front court players to shame on his way to another double-double (of which Free the Jrues IV took full advantage of this season in Fantasy Basketball, thanks so much) finishing with 27 points (on 14 shots my goodness) and 16 rebounds.
While the Sixers had six players reach double figures in scoring tonight (including our Vegas Summer League best friend, Justin Holiday), it proved to be all for naught as they couldn't get a stop on the defensive for the entire half. It was just more of the same on that front as they weren't closing out on shooters and were completely man-handled in the paint by the Pistons' frontline. Not being able to stop the opposition will normally lead to loses and tonight was no different.
One positive note on the Sixers end was that they seemed interested in getting the ball to the basket, whether by dribble drives of ball-movement and finding open cutters. While we'd expect to see less long-two's shortly enough with the arrival of a new head coach, it was refreshing to see them go for the bucket and attempt 21 free-throws in the process. Ultimately, the lack of defense and too much Greg "Moose" Monroe gave the Sixers another notch in the loss column.
Another road game, another loss.
- Evan Turner had another game shooting under 40%, meaning he beat out fan-favorite Vernon Maxwell for most in franchise history for one season (45). Congrats? (Stat via Reuben Frank)
- Jrue and Justin Holiday on the floor at the same time is something I'll never forget. Was hoping for a hug at some point but we can't win 'em all.
- The Sixers won more games last year than they will this year. They played 16 less games last year. (Stat via Michael Levin, maybe you've heard of him)
- One more game. One more game. One more game. One more game.