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Sixers pull away from Pistons in fourth quarter for 109-98 win

Five straight!

Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

There were a fair number of reasons tonight’s game could have went sideways for the Philadelphia 76ers. They were playing the tail end of a back-to-back, having traveled to Detroit following last night’s contest in Philadelphia. Furkan Korkmaz was ruled out not too long before gametime due to wrist soreness, adding to the team’s long list of inactives and leaving Doc Rivers with effectively an eight-man rotation (plus rookie third-string center Charles Bassey, who didn’t see action). Additionally, superstar Joel Embiid continues to look a bit lost on the offensive end, shooting just 6-of-15 from the floor for a humble-by-his-standards 19 points.

Yet, the Sixers’ supporting cast stepped up yet again, defeating the Detroit Pistons for the second time in eight days and securing their fifth straight victory, 109-98. After letting Detroit hang around for most of the game and struggling to hold down former Sixer Jerami Grant (game-high 27 points), Philadelphia finally broke the game open with an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Nine of those points came courtesy of new fan favorite Georges Niang, who was a bit off on the evening (4-of-11 FG, 3-of-10 3PT for 14 points), but bunched those makes together at the perfect time to lift up his squad.

While Niang was the fourth-quarter hero, it was Seth Curry who played a starring role early in the game. The Sixers’ one-point deficit at the end of the first quarter would have been much worse if not for the exploits of Curry, who stayed red-hot with 16 points in the first quarter (6-of-8 FG, 3-of-4 3PT). The best Curry scored 11 straight Sixers points during one stretch; he finished his evening with a team-high 23 points.

On his 21st birthday, Tyrese Maxey recorded his fifth-career 20-point game. Maxey plays with such an infectious energy, jetting around the court on both ends at Mach One. You couldn’t help but smile seeing him dive face-first after a loose ball. Tyrese scored nine points in the third quarter to help maintain a slim Sixers lead; I mean, what are defenses even supposed to do against this floater?

Elsewhere on the roster, Shake Milton continues to score the ball well since coming back from his ankle injury, tallying 16 points and five assists. Andre Drummond and Paul Reed were twin battering rams on the offensive glass, combining for eight O-boards between them, and Matisse Thybulle had three blocks and one steal because he played in a basketball game and that’s simply what he does.

The Sixers didn’t look like world-beaters tonight, but we saw a ton of encouraging performances and they still won by double digits under less-than-ideal circumstances. They’re now 7-2 and with Miami about to lose, will sit alone atop the Eastern Conference standings at the end of the night. Philadelphia will look to keep the good times rolling Saturday in Chicago.