Maybe the All-Star Break was all the Philadelphia 76ers needed to get out of their five-game slump. Maybe, and most likely, playing the Detroit Pistons in the first game back also helps. The 76ers (21-14) used their fresh, quick legs to run the Pistons (11-25) right out of their own building from the start, cruising to a 97-68 victory on the road.
The 76ers simply enforced their will on the Pistons. The only two players on the 76ers that did not register a point were Andres Nocioni and Francisco Elson.
Thaddeus Young led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds, while fellow reserve Lou Williams added 13 points and seven assists. Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, and Jrue Holiday all scored in double figures as well.
People can look at the box score for more of the impressive numbers that the 76ers put up, but anyone who watched the game would know they are a little inflated because of how terrible the Pistons played.
Once a huge playoff rival of the 76ers during the late-Iverson era, this franchise has completely fallen off the map. Outside of Greg Monroe, put in 20 points and eight boards, the Pistons are full of a bunch of veteran players who seem to be just playing for a paycheck. I don’t watch the Pistons too much, okay, I never watch the Pistons, but their facial expressions and body language bothered me as a fan of the NBA. Not once did I see any of the players or coaches show some sort of emotion about being down by 20 points for majority of the game. They just kept playing, kept turning the ball over, kept shooting long jump shots that had no real chance of going in. I am probably being too hard on the Pistons and like I mentioned above, have not seen many of their games this season, but their effort just irked me.
Looking at the Pistons stats, I don’t even know where to begin. The team shot 32% from the field, including a 3-18 combined performance from Brandon Knight and Ben Gordon. The team looked decent early on when they were getting the ball to Monroe on the block, but Rodney Stuckey started shooting and when that happened, the Pistons appeared to get out of sink. That has been the one flaw about Stuckey in the eyes of people around the NBA. He is a great scorer, adding 17 points tonight, but he doesn’t seem to make his teammates any better around him.
The Pistons proceeded to turn the ball over 22 times and the 76ers league-leading defense didn’t have to play a big part in that. The Pistons were giftwrapping passes for the 76ers to pickoff and combining the turnovers (17 steals for the 76ers) and bad shots, the 76ers were able to scorch the Pistons for 30 fast break points. By being able to constantly get up and down the court on the Pistons, the 76ers shot 50% from the field and barely ever had to setup in their half-court offense—something that has been problematic this season for the 76ers and especially over their five-game losing streak.
This was a game the 76ers needed to come out and dominate and they did just that. Though the team was in its first real rut of the season with a five-game losing streak before the All-Star Break, the only losses in which they didn’t have a chance to win were in Orlando and Memphis. Speaking for what I think would be the majority of 76ers fans, a five-game losing streak isn’t the end of the world. It hurts, but maybe was needed. The 76ers have had a lot of things go their way in the beginning of the season and running into some trouble may be a good way of bringing them back down to Earth.
After hosting the Western Conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder to close out the month of February, the 76ers have a big month in March where they will play 13-of-16 games against Eastern Conference foes. Posting a 16-5 conference record, the 76ers will have important games against Atlantic Division rivals in the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, along with big matchups against the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. The month of March is when we’ll find out what the 76ers are really made of.
About the Author
Written by Mike Rapine
Graduated last year from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Mathematics with a focus in Statistics. I was a member of their baseball team and overall have a sense of sports from not just the average fan's perspective. Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where we fall in love with our sports teams each year, despite the preconceptions of a playoff demise ultimately happening. Obviously, any opinions are personal in nature and should be taken as my own.