Detroit Pistons 109, Philadelphia 76ers 101
Seeming unclear on exactly what the concept of “tanking” entails, the Detroit Pistons have now won their last four consecutive games at precisely the time when the most beneficial thing the team could do is lose.
Sarcasm aside, the Pistons rode a strong second half to a win over the terrible 76ers tonight, outscoring Philadelphia 58-47 after halftime. Leading the way was Greg Monroe who – as he tends to do – scored 27 points on a ridiculous 10-of-14 shooting, adding 16 rebounds and four assists. Monroe could simply do no wrong tonight, right down to his off-court camera shots, where he was filmed dancing along to Jump On It as well as standing next to a life-size bobble-head of himself.
The Pistons looked loose and cohesive, and were generally able to impose their will on the Sixers in the second half despite a relatively quiet performance from Andre Drummond (5 points, 8 rebounds). Will Bynum again provided a spark off the bench, following up a 15-point, 10-assist performance against Charlotte with a 22-point (8-of-13 shooting), 6-assist one tonight.
The Pistons were sharp offensively, hitting 49.4% of their shots, and showcased some sharp passing, especially from Monroe and Bynum. Kyle Singler also made a difference, hitting 6 of his 11 shots en route to 16 points, most of which came in that strong second half. On the flip side, however, Brandon Knight struggled once again, hitting only 5-of-16 for 12 points. Knight has now surpassed 50% shooting in only three of his ten games since returning from injury in April.
The Sixers posted a somewhat balanced offensive effort – six players scored in double digits – but made only 44.8% of their shots (27.3% from three) in the loss. They were led by a decent effort from forward Dorell Wright, who made four threes and scored 22 points, but overall came out flat. A combination of the game’s general lack of excitement and it being the season’s penultimate game showed up in the commentary, as they seemed bored and spent most of the first quarter comparing Sixers center Spencer Hawes to Julius Erving, Tim Duncan, and Hakeem Olajuwon. I’m about 80% sure they were joking.
There’s not much else to say about this one. The Pistons are now one game away from closing the book on a mixed bag of a season and preparing for the next. They’ll play Brooklyn this Wednesday, and with the way they’re playing right now (coupled with the Nets clinching the fourth seed), they could quite possibly close the season on a five-game winning streak.
So, you know, the opposite of tanking. Naturally.