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Sixers overcome sleepy start to win 7th straight, secure 1st win in group play

The Sixers came out lethargic, but then took it to the young Pistons to secure their seventh straight win — and their first win in group play of the In-Season Tournament.

In-Season Tournament - Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

A win is technically a win.

The Sixers improved to 7-1 on the season and 1-0 in in-season tournament group play when they took down the Detroit Pistons 114-106 Friday night.

Tyrese Maxey overcame a rough start to finish with 29 points, five rebounds, four steals, 10 assists and crucially no turnovers. Joel Embiid didn’t have the most efficient night either, but led all scorers with 33 points and hauled down 16 rebounds.

Tobias Harris was rather efficient however, putting up 24 points shooting 8-of-15 from the field.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • So it’s not mandatory to wear the city jerseys during the in-season tournament. The Sixers white kits plus Detroit’s court made this game feel like when an iPhone involuntarily turns the brightness all the way up.
  • The score bug for the tournament looks really good though, so good for NBC Sports Philadelphia for that!
  • The Sixers’ offense looked just as dreadful to start the game, beginning 1-of-7 from the field. That allowed the Pistons to get out in front early. One of Embiid’s attempts looked more like a pass off the backboard. They were so out of sync early they took a five-second violation on an inbound.
  • It’s probably fair to call this the first real minutes for Marcus Morris Sr. as a Sixer, as he last played in the second half of a blowout against the Wizards. He was a part of those “Embiid plus deep bench” lineups that have been closing firsts, and none of those lineups have looked especially great so far this year. The lack of creation is really apparent during these times. This three from Robert Covington was just one of six made field goals in the quarter, as the Pistons took a 12-point lead.

Second Quarter

  • As if there was any doubt that these were the first real Marcus Morris Sr. minutes as a Sixer, he picked up a technical 30 seconds into the quarter.
  • Philly wasn’t just bad on offense, they were a train wreck on the defensive side of the ball. Cade Cunningham got things going for the Pistons, making his first four shots and putting up 12 and three assists in the half, but Killian Hayes of all people was the real standout. Hayes went into the half with 14 points, tied for a game high, and six assists.
  • This was probably Maxey’s worst half so far this season from a decision making standpoint. He leaned heavily into his floater, a shot he was not getting space to get off against the Pistons’ lanky backcourt. This skip pass to Kelly Oubre felt like his only good read of the half.
  • One thing Maxey, along with the rest of the team, did happen to do well was get to the free throw line. They took 22 free throws in the half and needed all of them as they shot 31% from the field and 28% from three, lucky to only be down eight at the half.

Third Quarter

  • After fooling around with some zones for much of the first half, the Sixers did tighten up defensively in man coming out of the break. Two blocked shots and two forced turnovers helped them tie up the game only four minutes into the third.
  • Their offense didn’t quite snap into shape the same way, but the same method that kept them afloat in the first half was good enough to trade scores with the Pistons for much of the quarter. Embiid had to do the heavy lifting of course. Eight of his 19 free throw attempts tonight were in the third quarter.
  • There were not a ton of bench contributions tonight, but the ones they got mattered. Covington was the only bench scorer in the first half and had four steals through three quarters. They finally got five more bench points at the end of the quarter from Jaden Springer and Nico Batum, good enough to help them take a six-point lead into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

  • Finally able to capitalize on some momentum, the Sixers began to pull away as the final quarter begun. De’Anthony Melton finally getting on the board with a couple of threes had to feel good, but it was Maxey attacking the rim at full speed that had the Pistons flummoxed.
  • This could have maybe been one of those games where Embiid had the entire fourth quarter off, as unbelievable as that would have sounded in the second quarter. They had gotten halfway through the quarter with a double-digit lead, though given that they didn’t grow that lead, Nick Nurse didn’t feel the need to risk it.
  • Time to go home. The Sixers will head back for another three-game homestead, kicking it off Sunday at 6 p.m. ET against the Indiana Pacers.

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