By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Detroit 136, Philadelphia 106 – Box Score
Coming off an exciting win Friday night against the Knicks, it might have seemed reasonable to expect another competitive game from the Sixers the following evening against Detroit. Instead, the last-minute victory against New York must have used up their entire supply of competitive juices, as Philadelphia allowed their highest point total of the season in a contest where the outcome was never in question.
The team that once had too many centers, now keeps losing them. Joel Embiid is in street clothes, Nerlens Noel is in Dallas, Jahlil Okafor was out with knee soreness, and Richaun Holmes was limited by a hamstring injury. No surprise then that Andre Drummond went off for 14 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. The perimeter defense was also lacking though with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope dropping an efficient 26 points on 9-11 shooting, and former Sixer Ish Smith darting around for a game-high 13 assists.
In a game where the Sixers lost the turnover battle 20-8, Dario Saric was once more a shining beacon in an otherwise dismal affair, tallying 19 points on 7-15 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. The vision for a man his size is consistently remarkable; there just aren’t too many players closer to 7 feet than 6 that make these sort of plays:
Starting again for the injured Gerald Henderson, who was out with hip soreness (I feel you Gerald, pushing 30 is tough), Nik Stauskas dropped a season-high 24 points on 10-15 shooting. Not only did Sauce knock down 4-7 from three, but his driving game keeps improving. This is the sort of play he wouldn’t have even thought of making last season.
On the plus side, with the loss, the Sixers are now tied with Orlando for the 4th-worst record in the league. Just 20 games left to get through, and aside from stellar play from Dario and the stray good performance from someone else here and there, there’s every reason to want this last month and a half to pass by as quickly as possible.