It was a night of firsts for the Pistons on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. The first start of rookie Kyle Singler's NBA career, the first game for Corey Maggette in a Pistons uniform, the first time the Pistons played an Eastern Conference team this season, and most importantly, the first time the Pistons have won a game this season. It may sound cliche, but what broke the Pistons' winless streak was their ability to play solid team basketball for 48 minutes. Defeating the 76ers 94-76, the Pistons are no longer searching for answers to their winless question with a fresh 1-8 record . But as the team quickly sets their sights to the Orlando Magic this Friday, there's nothing wrong with taking a good hard look at a victory that's been two weeks in the making.
Total Team Effort
Offensively, the Pistons were quick to share the ball posting 27 assists on 35 made field goals; assist total that helped four different Pistons score 15 points or more. (Knight-15, Monroe-19, Singler-16, Prince-15) On the boards the Pistons out rebounded the 76ers 57 to 38, while grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and scoring 42 points in the paint. Brandon Knight had his best game this season, recording 15 points on nine shots, seven rebounds, and seven assists to only two turnovers.
Defensively, the Pistons played their best game all season. Just as they helped each other out on offense, the Pistons did the same on defense. If someone got beat, teammates would slide with help. When the 76ers made it into the paint, and it didn't happen often Wednesday night, the Pistons made sure it wasn't an easy lay-in, but rather a difficult altered shot. They held the 76ers to 29% shooting, allowed a season-low 28 points in the paint, and, maybe most impressively, did not allow the 76ers to score two consecutive baskets until the 8:44 mark of the fourth quarter.
Singler Shines in First Career Start
With Rodney Stuckey out with the flu, Lawrence Frank called on Kyle Singler to take Stuckey's place as the starting two-man. Singler has mainly played at the small forward spot this season, but after watching Singler work with the Brandon Knight in the backcourt there were seemingly no signs that Singler was "out of position." Singler scored on a backdoor cut pass from Jason Maxiell, a fast break pass from Andre Drummond, a put-back after an offensive rebound, a spot-up three pointer, and off a crossover dribble into a fade away. Chipping in 16 points with the ease of an NBA veteran, Singler was simply finding the bottom of the basket.
Besides his individual highlights, the Pistons starters seemed to flow better offensively with Singler on the floor. Singler was staying busy without the ball in his hands, cutting to space, sliding along the baseline, and making himself available for the high-percentage assist from Knight or the big, passing Monroe. Over the Pistons first eight losses, there were times when the offense literally came to a screeching halt. Players would pass and watch, not moving from their spot and making it easy on the defense. Singler energized the offense, and brought the kind of "without-the-ball" movement that Rodney Stuckey has not been able to provide.
What's next for the Pistons?
Now, with the pressure of being the only winless team left in the NBA off their shoulders, the Pistons will re-focus and get ready for the Orlando Magic on Friday night at the Palace. Orlando started out surprisingly strong going 2-0, but have since lost five straight games. Anxious to get off their own losing streak, the Magic should bring a good deal of energy against the Pistons in a game that Orlando undoubtedly sees themselves winning. If the Pistons play the same balanced game they brought against the 76ers on Wednesday night, and recommit themselves to the rebounding battle, expect the Pistons to get their second win and start their first (mini) winning streak of the season.
Tags: Basketball, Brandon Knight, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Kyle Singler, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers
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