Instant Replay: Pistons 109, Sixers 101

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Instant Replay: Pistons 109, Sixers 101

BOX SCORE

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Before Monday’s game against the Detroit Pistons, Sixers head coach Doug Collins talked about how his team was able to avoid a 50-loss season with Sunday’s victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

These are the small silver linings that Collins has been reduced to in a season that started full of promise.

However, Collins and the Sixers found themselves back on the losing side of things Monday with a 109-101 defeat to the Pistsons.

The Sixers’ record dropped to 33-48 with the loss.

Turning point
The Sixers allowed the Pistons to score 30 points in the first quarter on 69 percent shooting. They later gave up 33 points in the third quarter with the Pistons shooting 48 percent.

The Pistons used those boosts to grab an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and cruise down the stretch of the game.

Follow the leader
The Pistons had five players in double figures, led by Greg Monroe’s 27 points. Kyle Singler scored 16 points, while Will Bynum came off the bench to score 22 points.

For the Sixers, Dorell Wright had a team-high 22 points. Jrue Holiday added 14 points. Evan Turner had 13 points, five assists and no turnovers.

Stat-egic
The Sixers average just 13 fastbreak points per game this season. Over their previous three games, that number had jumped to 18 per game.

However, the Sixers managed just seven points on the break in Monday’s loss.

Take a bow
Monroe was selected in the same draft with Turner in 2010. Turner was the No. 2 overall pick in that draft class, while Monroe was taken seventh by Detroit.

Monroe scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against the Sixers. The 22-year-old center shot 10 of 13 from the floor on the way to picking up his 36th double-double of the season.

What’s next?
The Sixers wrap up their season in Indianapolis with Wednesday’s game against the Pacers.

The Pacers are currently the third seed in the East with a record of 49-31.

Indiana was scheduled to play at Boston on Tuesday night, but that game was canceled due to the Boston Marathon bombings. The contest had no implications on the playoff standings and will not be rescheduled.

Ben Simmons healing on schedule; Joel Embiid out tonight; Jahlil Okafor downgraded

Ben Simmons healing on schedule; Joel Embiid out tonight; Jahlil Okafor downgraded

Ben Simmons had a planned foot scan Monday in New York and is progressing as expected.

Simmons suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot nearly four months ago, Sept. 30, and there is still no timetable for his NBA debut.

Okafor downgraded
Jahlil Okafor was limited at shootaround Tuesday and has been downgraded to questionable for tonight's game against the Clippers. He had been listed as probable on Monday.

Okafor is dealing with right knee soreness he experienced on Saturday. The Sixers kept an eye on him Monday and held him out of 5-on-5 drills in practice. Okafor said the team was being cautious, and he wanted to rest his knee given the number of games coming up.

"It was bothering me a little bit in the warmup lines, I started to feel it. When I got going, it started feeling really good, then when I sat out for an extended period, it got kind of sore on me again," Okafor said Monday.

Embiid out
Joel Embiid, dealing with a left knee contusion suffered in last Friday's win over Portland, is officially out tonight. He is also expected to miss Wednesday's game at Milwaukee before returning Friday vs. the Rockets.

Sixers-Clippers 5 things: Big men, minus Joel Embiid, in the spotlight

Sixers-Clippers 5 things: Big men, minus Joel Embiid, in the spotlight

The Sixers (15-27) on Tuesday night open their latest back-to-back set against the LA Clippers (30-16) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and streaming live on the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Missing in action
The Sixers are used to missing Joel Embiid for at least one game of back-to-back sets. However, they will have to forge ahead without him in both contests coming up on consecutive days.

Embiid will miss the Sixers' games on Tuesday and Wednesday after suffering a left knee contusion in the team's 93-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. The matchups will mark three straight absences for the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after he was sidelined for the Sixers' blowout loss in Atlanta Saturday.

The Sixers haven't exactly been able to survive without Embiid's production this season. They are 2-10 minus the Rookie of the Year frontrunner and have allowed 106.5 points in those games.

Brett Brown challenged his team to perform better — particularly on defense — during this upcoming stint without Embiid.

“It’s still about our defense, it’s still about running, it’s still about sharing the ball,” Brown said after practice Monday. “I think you go with Jahlil (Okafor) and Nerlens (Noel) and challenge them in relation to rim protection and what Joel provides us. The group around them also has got to perform at a higher level when you don’t have Joel. I think that second group that we have been playing, led by Nerlens, really can take on a far greater defensive identity than it has recently, and Nerlens will be the captain of that.”

2. The Blake Show is back
While the Sixers will be without their star big man in Tuesday's tilt, the Clippers are expected to get one of theirs back.

Blake Griffin is likely to return to action against the Sixers after missing 18 games following right knee surgery.

Griffin was averaging 21.2 points and 8.8 rebounds this season as the Clippers jumped out to a 20-6 record. Griffin underwent an arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies from the knee on Dec. 19, and the Clips have recorded just a 10-8 mark since.

With fellow superstar Chris Paul sidelined with an injured thumb, getting the five-time All-Star Griffin back should be a major boost for the Clippers.

3. Take care
The Clippers may not be the force they once were in the open court (15th in the NBA with 12.7 fastbreak points per game this season), but that doesn't mean they still can't revert to their Lob City ways in the blink of an eye.

That could be the case on Tuesday if the Sixers continue to turn the ball over at such an alarming rate.

The Sixers, last in the league with 17.1 turnovers per game, have somehow been even worse during this recent string of success. They have committed 19.4 turnovers a night over the last five games and 17.8 during the last 10 contests.

The Sixers have been able to survive thanks to their active defense creating opportunities on offense and some clutch shooting. However, with Embiid sidelined and facing a Clippers team that ranks in the top five in field-goal and three-point percentage, those miscues may come back to haunt the Sixers.

4. Injuries
Okafor (knee) is questionable. Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Griffin (knee) is probable. Paul (thumb) and Brice Johnson (back) are out for the Clippers.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost nine straight games to the Clippers.

• Ersan Ilyasova is averaging 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game during January.

• DeAndre Jordan has averaged a double-double of 11.3 points and 12.8 rebounds against the Sixers in his career.