Flattened in Philly
76ers avoid record 27th straight loss in smashing Pistons 123-98
Instead, the Pistons had to pack that humiliation in their overhead compartment for the return flight on Roundball One, victims of a 123-98 humbling by a team that’s been administered its share of humblings this season.
“There was no effort tonight,” Greg Monroe bluntly assessed. “Absolutely no effort.” Why? “I don’t have a clue. I can’t speak for everyone. I’m trying every game. I don’t care what the circumstances and it shouldn’t be circumstances. I’m trying to win every game. … It’s tough. It’s really tough. It definitely hurts how we played last night (a 32-point loss to Miami, missing four players). To play like that two nights in a row …”
The turning point – if there can be a turning point in a game decided by 25 points – might have come late in the first quarter when Brandon Jennings, seconds after not getting the benefit of a whistle as he drove to the basket and twisted in mid-air while throwing up a prayer, drew two technical fouls and was ejected from the game. The Pistons were down six at the time. They were down double digits a minute later and never got it under 10 the rest of the night.
“We didn’t play,” John Loyer said. “The amount of points we gave up, 70 in the first half, I call that team a hungry, hard-playing team and they were more hungry than we were tonight.”
"Yeah. I mean, there was no effort tonight. Absolutely no effort."- Greg Monroe on the game
Full game quotes
It didn’t help much that with Jennings unavailable, Will Bynum had one of those nights where not much went right for him. In 18 minutes, Bynum missed 9 of 11 shots and committed five turnovers against two assists.
Pistons turnovers – and there were 18 – quickly ruptured into 4-on-2 Philly fast breaks. The 76ers were quicker to loose balls and quicker baseline to baseline, doing their best to run from history. Philadelphia converted those 18 bobbles into 25 points, accounting for much of their alarmingly high 29 fast-break points.
Aside from rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams and veteran forward Thaddeus Young, the Pistons got beat by a bunch of guys who probably weren’t sure they’d even be in the NBA this season – or next.
Hollis Thompson was perfect on four shots from the arc and finished with 14 points. Henry Sims, an ex-Georgetown teammate of Greg Monroe’s who went undrafted in 2012, had 16 points and seven boards. Jarvis Varnado, a D-League vagabond, blocked six shots. And so it went. Everybody first-year coach Brett Brown waved in off his bench played hard and contributed, the Pistons unable to match the intensity Philadelphia mustered.
“This is amazing,” Thompson said after the 76ers were given a standing ovation by a raucous crowd as the final seconds ticked off. “We came out and got what we wanted, a win. We don’t even talk about the streak. We just knew we had a win coming and we got out there and got it tonight.”
“The message to the team, if this is the type of effort we’re going to have over the next nine (games), we’ll have results like we had the last two nights,” Loyer said. “We didn’t have that effort for the first 20-plus games (Loyer coached). I thought our effort in those games was tremendous. It’s our job and it’s their job as players to get back to that.”
Now the Pistons have to use the humiliation they lugged back from Philadelphia to their advantage Monday night, when a team with an even worse overall record, the 14-59 Milwaukee Bucks, comes to town.
“We have to refocus and we have to come out and fight every night,” Monroe said. “It never should matter who’s on the schedule. Every night we should come out and have the same focus, the same intent, every night, no matter who it is.”