Detroit Pistons struggle in second half, lose 114-106 to 76ers for seventh consecutive loss
Cade Cunningham's behind-the-back dribble led to a Marvin Bagley III dunk in the Pistons' first NBA In-Season Tournament game.
Cade Cunningham dazzled with a behind-the-back dribble, setting up a Marvin Bagley III dunk that extended the Detroit Pistons' lead to 16 points, their largest of the game. However, the Philadelphia 76ers outscored the Pistons 81-57 over the next 21 minutes, resulting in a 114-106 loss for the Pistons, who fell to 2-8.
Despite the loss, Killian Hayes continued his strong play, contributing 23 points, six assists, and six rebounds. Cunningham added 21 points and seven assists, while rookie Ausar Thompson recorded a double-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks for the Pistons.
The Pistons faced adversity with multiple players sidelined due to injuries, including Joe Harris, Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, Isaiah Livers, Alec Burks, and Jaden Ivey. Jalen Duren was also ruled out early in the fourth quarter due to right ankle soreness.
Looking ahead, Ivey is showing signs of improvement after missing four consecutive games due to a viral infection. Head coach Monty Williams confirmed Ivey's recovery, noting his presence at Friday morning's shootaround.
Cunningham and Hayes showcased their skills early in the game, helping the Pistons open with a 17-7 run. The team also displayed strong defense, limiting the Sixers to 31% shooting in the first half.
However, the Sixers surged back, outscoring the Pistons by 14 in the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid's dominant performance, with 33 points and 16 rebounds, played a pivotal role in the Sixers' comeback. Additionally, the Sixers capitalized on free throw opportunities, attempting 41 free throws compared to the Pistons' 22.
The Pistons' inaugural In-Season Tournament game marked the beginning of a series of matchups against Group A teams, including the Sixers, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Indiana Pacers. The Pistons are set to host the Hawks next, followed by away games against the remaining teams.
Before the game, head coach Monty Williams expressed optimism about the tournament, highlighting its potential to create new incentives and motivation for players. He emphasized the importance of expanding the audience and creating excitement around the tournament.
Overall, the Pistons' loss against the Sixers showcased the team's resilience and determination amidst injury challenges. As they look ahead to future tournament games, the Pistons are eager to regroup and continue competing at a high level.