Pistons at 76ers Game Preview - January 10, 2014
Regular Season Game #36The Detroit Pistons are aware of what will help them end their longest losing streak of the season.
Executing, though, seems to be a problem.
The Pistons will try to avoid another sloppy, selfish second-half performance in order to get their first win of 2014 on Friday night when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers.
Detroit (14-22) has lost six in a row, averaging 88.8 points on 40.6 percent shooting - 26.1 from 3-point range. The Pistons have been particularly poor during the second half over that stretch, scoring 38.3 points per game while hitting 36.4 percent of their field goals.
"My main focus and the thing I've been trying to preach the most is sacrificing for each other, being able to play unselfishly, hit the open man when he's open," forward Josh Smith said. "We just worry about playing together and not trying to figure out anything else, that's when our luck will start to change.
"When we won games, we've helped each other out on the defensive end. It's because we played unselfishly and that's what we've got to get back to." That certainly didn't happen Wednesday, when Detroit fell 112-91 at Atlantic Division-leading Toronto. The issues in the second half were clear, as the Pistons were outscored 62-37 after holding a four-point halftime lead.
They've either led or been tied at the break in each of the last four games. "We play phenomenal in the first half, but the second half comes around, we just stop playing basketball, stop sharing the ball, stop helping each other," said guard Rodney Stuckey, who made 4 of 13 from the floor while finishing with 14 points after missing three games with a sore shoulder. Brandon Jennings' struggles aren't limited to a particular half. The guard is averaging 13.3 points while connecting on 28.9 percent from the field - 9 for 36 from beyond the arc - during the slide.
Jennings is now making his first appearance in Philadelphia since going scoreless for the only time in his career in a 100-92 loss with Milwaukee on March 27. He missed all three of his shots before being benched in the fourth quarter.
The Pistons have averaged 104.6 points while winning four of five meetings with the 76ers (12-23). They took the most recent matchup 115-100 at home Dec. 1.
The 76ers are the worst defensive team in the NBA, giving up 111.1 points per game. They fell 111-93 at Cleveland on Tuesday, a day after losing 126-95 at home to Minnesota.
Philadelphia allowed those teams to shoot 47.6 percent and gave up 29 3-pointers. The Sixers had allowed opponents to shoot 38.7 percent - 25.2 from beyond the arc - while winning each of the previous four games. Thaddeus Young missed all seven of his shots while failing to manage a point for the first time in almost three years Tuesday. The forward was one of three starters along with Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes to be pulled early in the third quarter.
Young's effort came after he averaged 25.6 points on 55.9 percent shooting while making half of his 32 3-point attempts over the eight prior games.
Michael Carter-Williams is looking to build on his season-high 33 points. The rookie guard had 15 while adding six assists, six rebounds and six steals against the Pistons last month.