Instant Observations: Sixers Fall to Pistons 107-95
It seems like it’s been forever since the Philadelphia 76ers won a game.
In reality a five game losing streak is a relative blink of an eye to what Sixers fans have had to endure over the past couple of years, as the Sixers have started two consecutive seasons with 17 game losing streaks.
So much has happened, though, since the 76ers got their first win of the season, a 103-91 victory over the 3-19 Los Angeles Lakers. Since their lone win, a second Jahlil Okafor video surfaced on TMZ, which led to the Sixers handing down a two-game suspension to Okafor, the Sixers hired Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations, and head coach Brett Brown received a contract extension.
A couple of blowouts, including a 51 point embarrassment to the San Antonio Spurs, also contribute to the losing streak feeling longer than it has been.
Tonight’s 107-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons wasn’t quite as bad as that game against San Antonio, but Sixers fans at the Wells Fargo Center have been treated a couple of rough outings of late.
The Sixers were especially porous defensively, giving up 89 points in the first three quarters of play.
“We’re always trying to challenge that second group to play defense,” head coach Brett Brown said after the game. “When you get down, you’re always trying to grab for shooters. Our shooters need to be better defensive players.”
The game was notable for the return of Kendall Marshall, who made his first appearance for the Sixers after missing the first 23 games of the season while he recovered from a torn ACL he suffered last year. Marshall finished with 6 assists on the night during a 16 minute run.
“We should all be excited to give Kendall the ball. That’s an NBA point guard,” Brett Brown said after the game.
“It felt great,” Marshall said. “you forget how fast the game moves. Those first three minutes I felt like every time I turned my head it felt like something else was happening. Then the second four minutes it slowed down for me and started to get into a little groove. “He passes the heck out of the ball. He really has a good command of the game.”
* The Sixers defense was absolutely putrid tonight, giving up 107 points on 93 shots. The Pistons shot 37% from three point range, as the Sixers struggled all night to close out on shooters.
* Two things the Pistons do really well on the season: offensive rebounding (27.9% offensive rebounding rate, 3rd in the league) and taking care of the basketball (12.5% turnover rate, 2nd in the league). Both of those held true tonight. Detroit collected 17 offensive rebounds on only 50 missed shots, an incredible rate. They also won the turnover battle, committing 7 less turnovers than the Sixers.
* The Pistons had 21 second chance points, to only 7 for the Sixers, and had a significant advantage in fast break points, winning 26-11 in that department.
* After struggling last night in Brooklyn, scoring only 6 points on 3-10 shooting, Robert Covington bounced back against Detroit with 18 points on 5-16 shooting, which included 3 made three pointers.
* Jahlil Okafor had his second consecutive strong offensive performance, with 22 points points on 10-18 shooting from the field, although he finished with only 3 defensive rebounds. When Pistons center Andre Drummond was out of the game, Detroit couldn’t guard the Sixers’ rookie.
* Nerlens Noel played with a lot of energy on the night, finishing with 10 points (3-6 shooting), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal. He did have 4 turnovers in the game, which has been a recurring theme of late.
* The Pistons had two just absolutely massive runs in the game. They built a huge lead early, outscoring the Sixers 35-14 in the first quarter. The Sixers clawed their way back, getting to within 5 points on a Jahlil Okafor jump shot with 3 minutes remaining in the first half. The Pistons responded immediately, going on a 40-16 run over the next 12 minutes and change, holding a 29 point lead with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
* Kendall Marshall made his season debut for the Sixers, ending up with 5 points and 6 assists (to only 1 turnover) in 16 minutes as a starter. Brown said before the game that Marshall was going to be limited to just 16 minutes on the night.
* Tony Wroten did not play, as Brown said before the game that they would rest him on the second night of back-to-back’s.
* All 5 Pistons starters finished in double figures in scoring, including 21 points each from Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson, 15 from Ersan Ilyasova, 13 from Kenvatious Caldwell-Pope, and 18 points and 16 rebounds from Andre Drummond. All 5 Pistons starters were at least a +27 from the field.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine’s new Sixers Post. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.