Philadelphia — A weird thing happened on the way to the Pistons’ fourth straight loss.
The ball started going in the basket.
Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes got things going, and almost helped the Pistons erase a 22-point deficit in the second half.
The Pistons had a furious rally in the final six minutes, but fell short against the Philadelphia 76ers, 110-102, on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center.
It’s another bitter loss for the Pistons (0-4), who return home from their three-game trip for a Saturday matchup against the Orlando Magic.
Bey finished with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk added 14 points each and Killian Hayes nine points, five rebounds and four assists for the Pistons.
The Pistons trailed, 100-78, at the 6:34 mark after a dunk by Matisse Thybulle, but the Pistons got started with consecutive 3-pointers by Olynyk and Bey, who followed with a driving lay-in. Hayes added a putback and a 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 100-91 with 3:56 left.
Starting to see shots fall after struggling early in the season gave the Pistons some confidence.
“I hope (it carries over). We’re not going to win games if we can’t make shots,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We have to come out and play the way we did in the fourth quarter, with a sense of desperation.”
Joel Embiid (30 points and 18 rebounds) split a pair of free throws and Bey hit another 3-pointer, cutting the lead to seven. Grant had a chance to trim the lead to five, but missed both free throws. On the other end, Seth Curry (12 points) made two free throws for a 103-94 lead.
Bey hit his third 3-pointer during the run and got Detroit within six, but Embiid connected on two more free throws. The Pistons got as close as 107-102 with 1:05 remaining following another Bey 3-pointer, and looked to pull closer, but a basket by Hayes was nullified by an offensive foul.
“He’s got a strong mentality; just keep playing free, especially in the fourth quarter, which helped us cut the lead down,” Grant said.
In the third quarter, the Pistons were within single digits, but the 76ers capitalized on a technical foul by Josh Jackson on Embiid, who made the free throw and started a 12-4 spurt over the next three-plus minutes. Tobias Harris (17 points and six rebounds) scored on a drive and a dunk and Seth Curry (12 points) added a pair of baskets, for a 69-55 margin midway through the quarter.
The Pistons stayed close the rest of the period, but they couldn’t cut into the lead.
The 76ers took their biggest lead of the first half, 14-5, after a 6-0 run that included back-to-back baskets by Harris and a drive and dunk by Embiid. The Pistons closed the first quarter with a 13-3 finish, including the first 3-pointer by Frank Jackson, then a tip-in by Trey Lyles and two free throws by Olynyk with 0.2 seconds left.
The Pistons’ 22-21 lead was only the second time in four games this season that they’ve led after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the 76ers scored the first five points of the second quarter, but the Pistons regained the momentum behind Frank Jackson, who scored on a drive and added a four-point play. That sparked an 11-2 run, and the Pistons had their biggest lead, 35-30, at the 6:57 mark.
Philadelphia rallied for six straight points, with a lay-in by Harris, a pair of free throws by Tyrese Maxie and a dunk by Embiid.