AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The rebuilding 76ers at least can take this positive from Saturday night’s 113-96 loss at Detroit: It wasn’t as bad as the night before.
The Pistons used a 16-2 third-quarter run to take control and handed the Sixers their second straight defeat. The Sixers (15-33) never had an answer for Detroit big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, who went a combined 18 for 21 from the floor and ended the night with 43 points and 26 rebounds.
“The bigs were big,” Brett Brown said.
The loss, the Sixers’ second straight, came a night after an embarrassing 125-99 home defeat to Atlanta that the coach called the team’s worst performance of the season.
The Sixers trailed only 57-49 at intermission but the game quickly got away midway through the third quarter when the Pistons made three three-pointers to end the decisive run and push their lead past the 20-point plateau (see Instant Replay).
“That was a huge quarter for them. That’s what broke out the game,” said Thaddeus Young, who had 14 points a night after scoring 29 in the loss to the Hawks.
“We can’t have those kinds of lapses in a game.”
All sorts of numbers worked against the Sixers: They were outrebounded 58-44 and Detroit had a sizeable advantage in second-chance points (32-12) thanks to 23 offensive rebounds.
“They’re a pretty big team,” Young said of the Pistons. “Whenever we get outrebounded, it’s going to be a tough game to win.”
Sixers center Spencer Hawes, charged with keeping the Detroit bigs away from the basket, had four points, eight rebounds and four fouls.
The Sixers were missing rookie swingman Michael Carter-Williams, who was scratched from the lineup about 45 minutes before tipoff with soreness in his right shoulder. They've won just one of the 12 games Carter-Williams has missed this season.
“We decided to give him some time off and he needed it,” Brown said. “Day to day is a fair assessment.”
He added no MRI was done to assess any possible damage.
Carter-Williams, who battled foot and knee pain earlier this season, leads all league rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He actually ranks third overall among all NBA players in steals, behind Ricky Rubio and Chris Paul.
Tony Wroten took Carter-Williams’ spot in the starting lineup and led the Sixers with 18 points. Evan Turner and Elliot Williams each finished with 15.
The loss of Carter-Williams left the Sixers with just four active players on the bench, but Hollis Thompson, Lavoy Allen, Williams and Dewayne Dedmon combined to outscore the Detroit reserves 33-29.
Despite the loss, Brown said he was pleased with the effort from the NBA’s youngest team.
“We could’ve rolled over,” he said. “I don’t think our guys did, but we’re extremely a long ways from being the defensive team we need to be.
“There’s no time to hang your head; you’re in the NBA. I think the character of our guys is good and we will dust ourselves off tomorrow and get back after it.”
The Sixers' two-game trip ends Monday night at Brooklyn.