76ers Survive Scare Against Pistons in NBA In-Season Tournament
Detroit — The Philadelphia 76ers narrowly avoided a letdown against the lowly Detroit Pistons, securing a 114-106 victory after their impressive win against the Boston Celtics. The Sixers, now 7-1, struggled in the first half but managed to pull through in the NBA In-Season Tournament game at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.
Sixers coach Nick Nurse acknowledged that his team may have been coming off an emotional win and not fully prepared for the Pistons. “We looked a little half-step slow, and they looked two steps fast,” Nurse said. He also credited Pistons coach Monty Williams for having a well-prepared game plan.
The game marked the first appearance for both teams in the NBA In-Season Tournament. With the win, the Sixers improved to 1-0 in the tournament’s East Group A pool, alongside the Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The game ended on a controversial note as the Pistons took exception to Joel Embiid attempting a three-pointer in the final second with the Sixers up by eight points. Although the shot went in, it was waved off due to the buzzer already sounding. Embiid clarified that he was aware of the tournament rules and that he was not trying to rub it in.
Embiid finished the game with game highs of 33 points and 16 rebounds, securing his sixth consecutive double-double of the season. Tyrese Maxey contributed 29 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds, while Tobias Harris added 24 points. The win extended the Sixers’ winning streak to seven games, keeping them in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Despite the victory, tensions ran high after the game as Pistons players and coaches confronted Embiid, who was also booed by the fans in attendance. Embiid expressed his confusion over the unwritten rule that shooting the ball when leading is frowned upon, especially considering the Pistons were down by 17 points and continued to score.
The Sixers will now head home for a two-game series against the Indiana Pacers, with Tuesday’s game serving as the In-Season Tournament matchup.