| The Detroit News
Detroit — With Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose sitting out on the second night of a back-to-back, the Pistons had more minutes to spread around to their young players. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, it was a good challenge, trying to end their three-game skid.
The Pistons stayed close all the way until the end, but couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth quarter, falling to a 114-110 loss on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Here are some takeaways from the loss:
Ellington still hot: For the fourth straight game, Wayne Ellington has been dialed in from behind the 3-point line. In the past four games, he has made 21 3-pointers, which is a franchise record for that span. He’s stepped into the role and has taken the reins. If nothing more, Ellington, 33, could develop into a valuable trade piece as the deadline approaches. He had 17 points on Saturday and had his fourth straight game of scoring in double figures.
Wright call: After scoring 18 points on Friday night against the Rockets, Delon Wright said that he believed that he needed to be more aggressive on the offensive end. He followed through on that plan with a nice first half, going 2-of-4 from the field, with five points, three rebounds and four assists. Without Blake Griffin in the starting lineup, the Pistons needed all the assertiveness they could muster, which helped get out to a 31-29 lead in the first quarter. Wright had one of his most productive games of the season on Friday and the more he’s able to contribute in other areas besides scoring the more effective he can be.
SVI for 3: It’s been a tough few weeks for Svi Mykhailiuk, who hasn’t had much playing time in recent games — but when has played significant minutes, he’s been effective offensively. He had 18 points against the Bucks on Jan. 13, the last time he’s played more than 14 minutes. He found a good rhythm on Saturday, with 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter, trying to keep the Pistons in the game. He’s been deserving of more playing time, but with the rotation they have in place, the minutes haven’t been there. Mykhailiuk made his first three 3-pointers, including two straight in the third period.
Center issues: Joel Embiid presents a defensive issue for almost every team, but the Pistons especially, with his blend of size and strength in the paint and ability to pop out to the 3-point line. He was a handful for Mason Plumlee and Isaiah Stewart, who got in early foul trouble trying to defend him. Plumlee got two fouls in the first couple of minutes and when Stewart entered the game, he had his hands full with Dwight Howard, and he had another tough matchup when Plumlee got his third foul, at the 4:59 mark of the second quarter. It’s the fourth straight game that Plumlee has fouled out, which has opened more opportunities for Stewart and Jahlil Okafor.