There probably isn't a better way to sum up the Sixers loss to the Pistons on Saturday night than by describing a sequence that occurred at the end of the third quarter.
The Sixers were down 76-62 with about ten seconds remaining. Jerami Grant received a pass after setting a screen on the ball at the top of the key and started to attack the hoop. The rookie second round pick drove out of control and ended up coughing the ball over to Andre Drummond. The Pistons went on the break and Anthony Tolliver scored at the hoop with five seconds remaining. Sixers big man Henry Sims rushed an inbound pass that was intercepted by Kyle Singler. The former Duke wing had been hot all game so it was no surprise when he drilled the wide open three.
That series alone hardly cost the Sixers the game. But it highlighted some of the biggest issues in Philadelphia's loss: turnovers and shooting issues. The Sixers turned it over 22 times and shot 25% from beyond the arc while the Pistons shot 42.9% from deep.
Detroit's been hot lately and they were easily the better team. They hit shots, rebounded well, and took advantage of the turnovers. It just wasn't the Sixers' night. The Pistons won by a final score of 107 to 89.
• The Sixers weren't aggressive enough. Too many players standing around and waiting for something to happen instead of making it happen. Check out the free throw disparity: 19 attempts by Detroit compared to 7 attempts for the Sixers. When the Sixers did try to attack the basket, they turned it over.
• Up and down game for Michael Carter-Williams. The second-year point guard finished with 15 points (50%), 6 assists, and 4 turnovers. Late during the second quarter, I wrote down "bad turnover by MCW" three times in a row in my game notes. They were really ugly. Just a combination of bad decisions and bad execution. He kind of made up for it with two good drives to the hoop, including one where he drew a foul for the and-1.
• Some of the shots that the Pistons made during their hot start weren't even good looks, but it didn't matter. They were hitting everything. Brandon Jennings' penchant for unnecessarily leaning off-balance while drilling shots is really something.
• Nerlens Noel followed up the "best game as a Sixer" with a forgettable performance. At one point he had a really bad turnover that led to an easy fast break for Detroit. Instead of being aggressive and trying to work with some of the room he was being given, he made a lazy pass to the top of the key that was picked off.
Noel missed a two-handed slam early in the game by dunking it off the back iron. He stole the ball back away from Singler and scored it but he shouldn't have to rely on scoring the second time. He needs to make that first one.
One of the positives from Noel's performance was a big block he had on Greg Monroe. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was being posted up by Monroe and Noel made a big weak side block after Monroe used a spin move to beat LRMAM.
• Quiet night for Robert Covington. He had 25 points the last time the Sixers and Pistons played. This time he finished with 9 points on 9 shots. He only attempted one shot from the line and he was 2-6 from beyond. You know it's just not the Sixers night when Bob is missing wide open looks.
• Hollis Thompson did a few good things. He came up with a steal after coming in for weak side help on a post entry pass intended for Andre Drummond. Thompson scored a nifty two-handed floater at one point, which caused Malik Rose to question the existence of the shot.
• Larry Drew had some nice moments. He found a wide open Thompson under the net in the second quarter which caused Marc Zumoff to say "Tic Tac Toe." Drew had great anticipation on a steal where Monroe tried to force a one-handed look into the low post. Drew would have had a nice assist to a rolling Henry Sims but the big guy simply dropped the ball. Can someone get the Sixers big guys some hands?
Drew finished with 6 points (43%) and 9 assists to 3 turnovers in 24 minutes played.
• Pretty bad game for K.J. McDaniels. He scored 4 points on 20% shooting and also recorded 3 turnovers. He couldn't convert on his open shots and he forced some other attempts.
• Jerami Grant was also bad but had a sick block on two-handed dunk attempt by Drummond late in the game.
• At one point Marc Zumoff said something about Brett Brown "unleashing" JaKarr Sampson, which seems pretty funny. But Sampson actually played OK. He had 9 points on 5 shots along with 2 assists.
• M33KS! The former Sixers guard finished with 15 points off the bench on 50% shooting. Nice to see Jodie is doing well.
Up Next: The Sixers have Sunday off before returning to action against the Washington Wizards on Monday. It's an early start since it's MLK Day, so don't miss the 2:00 PM EST tip.