The Detroit Pistons started strong on Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers, but a poor second half cost them against the Eastern Conference contender.
After scoring 66 points in the first half, the Pistons had just 32 in the second half, on 25.6% shooting. That allowed the Sixers to pull away for a 109-98 win. The loss drops the Pistons to 1-7 on the season.
Jerami Grant led all scorers with a season-high 27 points (11-for-22, 2-for-6 from 3), and Cade Cunningham recorded his first double-double (in his third career game) with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. The Sixers (7-2), without Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, were led by Seth Curry, who had 23 points. They had just nine players active and were on the second night of a back-to-back.
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Cunningham hasn’t quite found his rhythm as a scorer. He shot 3-for-22 during his first two games, then followed that with a 4-for-17 night Thursday. But he still found ways to impact the game while shaking off rust following an extended absence from five-on-five action.
He did a good job controlling the pace in the first quarter, tallying three assists. He found Saddiq Bey in transition for a layup, hit a rolling Isaiah Stewart for a layup and created an open 3-pointer for Killian Hayes by pushing the ball in transition. He didn’t hit many shots, but he compensated by getting to the line, with five shooting fouls and nine points off his 10 attempts at the line.
Grant maintains momentum
Grant had his best game of the season on Tuesday. He scored 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including 4-for-8 shooting from 3, in a tidy 24 minutes. His tally would’ve been higher, but he sat out the entire fourth quarter of a blowout loss.
That momentum carried over to Thursday. Grant had 22 points by halftime, on 9-for-12 shooting (and 2-for-3 from 3). Through his first five games, Grant shot just 35.5% overall and 25% from 3. He had a nagging elbow injury, but he appears to have gotten his rhythm back.
Grant cooled off in the second half, missing seven straight shots before getting an and-1 play with 7:53 left in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 12.
Pistons start strong, finish cold
The Pistons’ 66 points at halftime was a season high; they led the Sixers by three, thanks to shooting 52.1% overall and 47.4% from 3. They had 16 assists opposite two turnovers, and were buoyed by a hot start by Grant. It was one of their best halves of the season. They couldn’t maintain it.
Detroit shot 6-for-22 overall and 2-for-10 from 3 in the third quarter, and the Sixers outscored them 23-16 in the period to take the lead for good. A pair of fourth-quarter turnovers by Cunningham and Grant gave the Sixers consecutive fastbreak layups midway through the final period to take a 103-89 lead. The Pistons committed six fourth-quarter turnovers and missed all seven of their 3-point attempts.
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