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News » 76ers-Pistons Preview 2009-03-29

76ers-Pistons Preview 2009-03-29

76ers-Pistons Preview 2009-03-29
With seven wins in nine games, Philadelphia was riding a wave of confidence. The 76ers, though, learned how easy it is to crash.

With an opportunity to pull within one-half game of fifth place in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia looks to get back on track Sunday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Facing a Detroit Pistons team that hasn't been playing its basketball of late should help.

Philadelphia (37-34), looking for its first winning season since 2004-05, still has work to do to keep pace with No. 5 seed Miami and hold off surging Chicago and Detroit, both 2 1/2 games back of the 76ers for the sixth seed.

"At this point, we feel like we have to play at a high level every night, not only against top teams against the league but also in the conference," Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala said following Friday's 100-95 loss to Charlotte. "We have to be able to maintain that regardless of what their record is and that is something we have to continue to work at."

Iguodala, scoring a team-best 18.4 points, is averaging 20.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists as Philadelphia has won three straight over Detroit, including a 96-91 win in Auburn Hills on Dec. 5 in their only meeting this season.

Thaddeus Young looks to maintain his hot shooting. The second-year forward, averaging 15.2 points, has scored 21-plus in his last six games while shooting 57.0 percent from the field during this stretch.

Philadelphia, though, had its three-game winning streak snapped Friday as it scored just 33 first-half points against the Bobcats, 10 in the second quarter.

"I think we were disappointed tonight, especially the way the first half went," 76ers interim coach Tony DiLeo said. "We really didn't have that sense of urgency until maybe midway through the third quarter."

Philadelphia has consistently been ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense this season, but in the last 15 games, the opposition is averaging 101.3 points. The 76ers allowed an average of 95.7 in their first 56 games.

Detroit, meanwhile, has scored 98 points or fewer in its last four games. The Pistons (35-37), though, snapped a three-game slide Saturday with a 98-96 victory over Washington.

In his first game back since missing six with a left groin injury, Richard Hamilton hit a season-high five 3-pointers and scored 31 points. Detroit was 1-5 without its star guard.

The Pistons, who trail Chicago by percentage points for the seventh seed, may get Allen Iverson back Sunday after he missed the past 16 games with a sore back. Iverson, who spent his first 10-plus seasons with Philadelphia, is averaging 29.3 points and 8.0 assists in four career games versus his former team.

Rasheed Wallace, however, will likely not return until Tuesday's game in Cleveland, according to Detroit coach Michael Curry. Wallace has been sidelined 10 games with a strained left calf.

Even without Wallace's 7.5 rebounds per game, the Pistons have outrebounded their last 10 opponents by an average of 5.9. Philadelphia, meanwhile, grabbed a season-worst 23 boards in Friday's loss to Charlotte.

Detroit has lost four of five at home since winning three in a row there March 3-9.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 29, 2009


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