Down by three points with 15 seconds left in the game, a should-be victory falling out of their grasps, the 76ers had the ball with a chance to tie. And they were successful in tying the game just two seconds later, when Hollis Thompson caught the ball in the corner, jump-stopped, turned, and swished a game-tying three pointer. A little over five game minutes later, the Sixers walked away with an overtime victory, 108-101 over the similarly hapless Detroit Pistons.
The Sixers have now won two of three games after starting the season winless in 17 games. A lower level of competition helped. Detroit entered the game as the team with the second worst record in the league, while Minnesota missed three of their four best players in Wednesday night's victory.
The overtime featured some of the worst offensive basketball you'll ever see. The Pistons finished the overtime period with one point. That's not a typo. Detroit couldn't find open looks at the rim, and aside from a pair of shooters struggles to make threes as well. The Sixers also couldn't score to open the period for almost three minutes, at which point MCW found an open Henry Sims for a foul line jumper. They held the lead going forward, with solid defense and enough made free throws to make the Pistons just go away.
Robert Covington scored 25 points in the victory, setting a career-high in scoring for the third consecutive game. Covington, expected to make the NBA leap soon after the D-League Draft occurred, got revenge of sorts against the team that picked him first overall in the D-League Draft but did not give him an NBA contract. Given the dearth of shooting in Detroit, you wonder why the team didn't sign him right away.
Covington should be a Sixer for a while going forward, with a team-friendly contract and clear need (scoring/shooting) that he has filled.
Assorted Game Notes:
- Michael Carter-Williams, again the only healthy, active lead guard on the roster, scored an efficient 20 points and dished 15 assists, continuing his traditional stat party for one. More importantly, he looked in command tonight - his drives had purpose, he knew where his teammates were, and he made good decisions. Even with seven turnovers, those were more either because teammates made mistakes or because fouls went uncalled.
- The Sixers also went to MCW in the post a few times, something that they should be doing given his size advantage over many point guards. Unfortunately, the rest of the team's personnel just don't really work around it. In order for the MCW post game to work, the rest of the team on the floor needs to be filled with shooters, and there are about three trustworthy shooters on the squad.
- The Pistons overwhelmed the Sixers with their size, as is their intention with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. Detroit notched nine and-ones during the game. I don't know if anyone keeps track, but that has to be the highest number allowed by the Sixers this season. Fortunately, the Pistons also stink at free throw shooting.
- Nerlens Noel had a solid, if relatively anonymous, game. Most notably, he hit a runner in the lane late in overtime which clinched the victory. He finished with just nine points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes.
- #PointJaRuleKarr (hat tip to Dweebowitz)
- Detroit's roster is so depressing.
- Including the game-tying shot, Hollis Thompson finished with 13 points and 3 three pointers. Despite the heroics, his role going forward might be up in the air. With Tony Wroten set to return hopefully soon, along with Robert Covington's scoring explosions and K.J. McDaniels' potential, Hollis might see a downward tick in minutes anyway. Who knew we might be in for a roster jam on the wings?
- Next game isn't until Wednesday, when the Sixers will fly to Atlanta and play the Hawks.