6 observations from Sixers-Pistons

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6 observations from Sixers-Pistons

BOX SCORE

The Sixers scored 63 points against the Pistons in the first half -- their second-best output in a single game before intermission this season. The Sixers were also up by 16 at one point.

And they blew it.

After a hot start, the Sixers cooled considerably and lost to the Pistons, 114-104, at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday (see Instant Replay). It was the Sixers' third straight defeat and their fifth loss in the last six meetings against Detroit. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Pistons.

Some observations from the game:

1. Thaddeus Young played just 21 minutes in the Sixers’ game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday. Part of that was because the Sixers got blown out, and part of it was owed to fatigue, according to Young.

Young looked better and played much more on Friday. He tied for a game-high 22 points to go with four rebounds and two assists in 40 minutes.

2. Evan Turner didn’t play much against Cleveland either, logging only 17 minutes. Against the Pistons, Turner had more points (8) in the first seven minutes than he did in the entire game against the Cavs (4). Turner finished with 19 points, five rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes against the Pistons.

3. Turner should probably think twice before trying to dunk on Andre Drummond again. In the second quarter, Turner went strong to the hoop and tried to throw down a two-handed dunk. Drummond blocked it with one hand, and without much trouble. The Detroit center is having an excellent season, and he’s averaging more than a block and a half per game. He is a man. And a monster. He’s a man-monster. For the game, the Pistons had an insane, almost-impossible 14 blocks. Drummond had six of them.

4. The Sixers aren’t good at stopping the three-pointer. You probably heard. They entered Friday allowing 10.3 threes per game (most in the NBA). The Pistons aren’t good at making threes. You might not have heard. Detroit came to Philly hitting just 6.1 threes per game (27th). But as it goes with most teams, the Pistons shot much better than usual against the Sixers. Detroit hit 11 of 30 from beyond the arc. At some point, the Sixers have to defend shots from distance -- don’t they? Or maybe they’ll just wait until next year for that.

5. The Sixers entered Friday evening as a slightly better rebounding team than the Pistons, averaging 0.7 more rebounds per game than Detroit. That was somewhat surprising considering the Pistons employ Drummond (12.7 rpg) and Greg Monroe (8.9 rpg), both of whom are in the top 20 in the league in rebounds per game. Detroit also has Josh Smith. And while Smith has been somewhat inconsistent this season, he went into the game averaging 6.8 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Spencer Hawes (8.6 rpg) is the only Sixer among the top 40 rebounders in the league. And with Lavoy Allen out with a right calf injury, it looked like the Pistons might dominate the Sixers on the glass. (OK, OK, Allen isn’t great, but he’s still a large human who occupies space under the basket.) That's what happened. The Pistons crushed the Sixers on the boards, out-rebounded their hosts by 20. The disparity was particularly ugly on the offensive glass, where there Pistons had a 25-13 advantage.

6. Friday was the first of a back-to-back for the Sixers, who play the Knicks at home on Saturday evening. It was also the first outing in a four-game homestand for the Sixers. The Sixers have lost five of their last six at home this season. They’re 7-10 overall at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers have had a winning record at home in 14 of the last 15 seasons. A year ago, they went 23-18 at the Wells Fargo Center.

West wins NBA All-Star Game; Anthony Davis earns MVP with record performance

West wins NBA All-Star Game; Anthony Davis earns MVP with record performance

NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis had an All-Star Game for the record books.

And on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he's clearly part of the future and a midcourt lob attempt from James Harden even went in, Davis absolutely stole the show.

He scored 52 points, 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record that had stood for 55 years, and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182 on Sunday night -- the highest-scoring game in league history.

Davis made 26 shots and took 39, both of those also All-Star records. He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes -- which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.

Not this time. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, to the delight of his New Orleans fans.

"It was a lot of fun," Davis said. "My teammates did a great job of looking for me."

Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West -- where a subplot emerged as DeMarcus Cousins played only two minutes, prompting some speculation that a trade sending him out of Sacramento might be looming.

Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East, with 12 dunks in his night. LeBron James scored 23 points to become the first All-Star to eclipse 300 in a career, Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 14 assists, and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East.

Davis became the story that overshadowed The Story coming into this game, that being the Durant-Westbrook whatever.

And if there is any animus remaining between Durant and Westbrook, it was hidden. They passed each other the ball and slapped hands in the pregame layup line, and not long after Westbrook checked into the game the former Oklahoma City teammates provided one of the game's top highlights -- a give-and-go, capped by Durant lobbing the ball to set Westbrook up for a dunk.

"OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" Curry shouted on the West bench, which moments later broke into celebration. Players jumped and threw hands skyward, Curry tossing a cupful of water onto a smiling Durant amid it all.

Draymond Green called the play "cute," and Westbrook and Durant seemed happy with it as well.

"It was a nice give-and-go, man," Westbrook said. "Good give-and-go. Made a good pass. I barely got over the rim, but it was a nice give-and-go."

Added Durant: "It was a great basketball play. He was open so I threw him the lob. He can jump really high so yeah, good play."

Some fans were shouting "De-Fense!" in the fourth quarter. West center DeAndre Jordan heard them, rising from his seat on the West bench to yell "No, no, no" back in their direction.

If those fans were serious, they were disappointed.

Westbrook scored 12 points -- all on 3s -- in a 63-second span late in the third quarter, coming off the bench and firing over and over and over again. And then he opened the fourth quarter with another 3, giving him 34 points in just under 14 minutes played to that point.

It looked like he was a cinch for MVP honors, until Davis scored 20 points in the fourth.

Tip-ins
East: Irving also led the East in rebounds with seven. ... Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16. ... No East player logged more than 24 minutes.

West: Curry took cover in the third quarter, comically hitting the deck face-first as Antetokounmpo went in for yet another dunk. So later in the quarter, Antetokounmpo went over Curry for a rebound slam -- one that left Curry staring at the scoreboard for a replay. ... Kawhi Leonard had a steal and dunk in the opening minute, a defensive display that left West coach Steve Kerr in hysterics.

Celeb watch
A huge roar greeted Jon Batiste, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" pregame, when he started the song.

It wasn't for him.

That happened to be the moment when John Legend -- the halftime performer -- and Chrissy Teigen were shown at their sideline seats on the video screens around the arena. And a louder cheer came not long afterward when Beyonce and Jay Z got on-screen.

Among the other celebs in the seats: Guy Fieri, Dave Chappelle, Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and The Roots.

Up next
The next All-Star Game is Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, which will host for a record sixth time.

Give and Go: Which Sixer has been the most surprising?

Give and Go: Which Sixer has been the most surprising?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we pick the Sixers' most suprising player this season.

Haughton
Imagine an underdog beating the odds to not only make an NBA roster, but also play significant minutes. Now imagine him doing it twice.

T.J. McConnell continues to shatter any perceived limitations put on his career.

McConnell came into last season as an undrafted free agent that was expected to be cut. Instead he beat out several other point guard candidates to stick on the roster. Not only that, he managed to become a mainstay off the bench as he played in 81 games for the Sixers.

Fast forward to this season and McConnell was to be buried on the bench behind free-agent signees Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez.

It's a good thing nobody told the Pittsburgh native about those plans. He again played a solid reserve role off the bench while Bayless missed most of the season with an injured wrist. Then when Rodriguez sat out with an illness in a December matchup in Detroit, McConnell pounced on the opportunity. He just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an 18-point win over the Pistons and the rest is history.

McConnell has been the team's starting point guard ever since. The numbers aren't going to wow anyone: 6.3 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 24.9 minutes a game. However, he's a consistent contributor and a leader on an improved Sixers team.

Hudrick
T.J. McConnell. And it's not even close.

Before the season started, I projected McConnell to the D-League, considering him a solid emergency point guard. McConnell Wally Pipp'd his way into the starting lineup when Sergio Rodriguez was out with an illness. McConnell has flourished while Rodriguez has struggled.

Since becoming a starter, McConnell has averaged 8.9 points, eight assists and 1.7 steals in 31.4 minutes per game. He's averaging just two turnovers a game and also managed to hit two game-winning shots in that span. Most importantly, the Sixers are 14-11 when McConnell has started this season.

The most impressive personal stat for McConnell may be the 49 percent he's shot from the field over his last 24 games. McConnell never looked for his shot last season. He shot only out of desperation and his numbers reflected that. You can see his comfort level rising and his confidence in finishing around the rim.

McConnell is likely not the long-term solution at point guard for the Sixers, but I have to eat crow and say that at the very least, he's a solid NBA player.