PHILADELPHIA — It’s tough to win when you can’t make shots. And shot-making has been the Detroit Pistons‘ biggest issue through four games this season. Entering Thursday’s road matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pistons were the NBA’s worst-shooting team.
That didn’t change Thursday. At least it didn’t until a spirited comeback attempt that fell just short. The Pistons trailed by 22 points midway through the fourth quarter, but used a late 24-7 run to cut the deficit to five with 1:06 left.
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The Sixers ultimately escaped with a 110-102 win. Joel Embiid (30 points, 18 rebounds) knocked down a clutch 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to ice the game for Philadelphia.
Saddiq Bey (19 points, six rebounds, 4-for-9 from 3) and Killian Hayes (nine points, five rebounds, four assists) sparked the comeback for the Pistons. Bey scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of late 3-pointers, and Hayes scored five points and assisted one of Bey’s 3-pointers during the run. Jerami Grant, who returned after missing Monday’s game in Atlanta with a left elbow infection, scored 14 points, and Kelly Olynyk added 14 points off of the bench.
Former Pistons wing Tobias Harris had 17 points and six rebounds for the Sixers, and Tyrese Maxey added 16 points.
Detroit was just 6-for-28 (21.4%) from 3 entering the fourth quarter. But the Pistons finished the game 13-for-39 (33.3%) from 3, marking their best night from outside on the season.
The Pistons kept it close in the first half, falling behind 16-7 midway through the first quarter, then finishing with a 15-5 run to take a one-point lead going into the second quarter.
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They then carried that momentum into the second quarter, but fell apart early in the fourth quarter. After Isaiah Stewart picked up his third foul, Luka Garza helped Detroit stay afloat with a pair of 3-pointers while matched up against Embiid. Garza’s first 3 tied the game at 39, but the Sixers closed the first half with a 13-7 run. Philadelphia maintained control in the third, entering the fourth with a 12-point advantage.
Hayes, Bey power late run
The Sixers appeared to put the game away for good early in the fourth quarter, after Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz knocked down a pair of 3-pointers at the beginning of the period to stretch Philadelphia’s lead to 18. That lead increased to 22, 100-78, at the 6:34 mark following a Thybulle dunk.
Hayes subbed into the fourth quarter at the 7:54 mark — his first action in the fourth this season. It capped his best performance of the season, too, as he scored five points and dished out two assists — both for 3-pointers — during a 16-1 run that cut the deficit to seven with less than four minutes remaining.
Hayes’ best stretch saw him grab an offensive rebound in traffic and lay it in, knock down a 3-pointer and find Bey for a corner 3-pointer, all in a 70-second span to cut the score to 101-94 and force a Sixers timeout.
Bey also rediscovered his shooting stroke, hitting three of his four 3-pointers in the final five minutes, including two in the final two minutes to cut the deficit to 107-102.
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