76ers 97, Pistons 68

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins had a little scare and his
team stopped a skid.

Collins left the bench between the third and fourth quarters
because he felt lightheaded, but gave himself a clean bill of
health after the 76ers beat the Detroit Pistons 97-68 Tuesday night
and snapped its five-game losing streak.

”I think I got dehydrated,” Collins said. ”It’s nothing
related to what I had with vertigo. It’s all good.”

He missed two preseason games last year because of symptoms
related to a concussion, then had neurological testing and
treatment for what was diagnosed as vertigo. He saw the Sixers earn
their first victory of the 2010-11 season in the locker room on his
back, not the bench because of dizzy spells.

Collins said he broke a promise to himself by thinking about his
team during the All-Star break when he spent time with his family,
leading to him not sleeping well for days before resuming the
season.

”The guys gave me a great gift with the way they played,” he
said.

Reserve Thaddeus Young scored 12 of his 20 points in a pivotal
second quarter and All-Star Andre Iguodala had 12 points, six
assists and four steals for the Sixers.

”Thaddeus gave us such a lift,” Collins said. ”I knew our
guys would bounce back.”

Playing Detroit helped.

The Atlantic Division-leading Sixers have been at their best
against the lowly Pistons, beating them twice at home by an average
of 22 points and then routing them by 29 in the first game for both
teams after the All-Star break.

”We were still on vacation,” Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince
said.

Greg Monroe scored 11 of his 20 points in the first quarter,
when the Pistons trailed by just two, and Rodney Stuckey had 17
points.

Detroit has lost three straight after winning seven of nine.

Philadelphia’s Lou Williams scored 13, Jrue Holiday added 10
points and five assists while Brand scored 10 points in his return
from a two-game absence because of a sprained right thumb.

The Sixers turned a two-point lead into a 16-point cushion at
halftime by outscoring the Pistons 28-14 in the second quarter.

Detroit coach Lawrence Frank lamented his team’s tendency to
turn the ball over against the quick Sixers in their previous two
meetings and the trend continued after a strong start.

”When you see a team with 17 steals, it is pretty obvious what
happened,” Frank said. ”They averaged 21 points off our turnovers
in the first two games, so our goal was to make them play against
our set defense. Of course, that didn’t happen.”

It did for Detroit during the opening minutes before its game
plan fell apart.

Monroe scored nine points in 4-plus minutes to outscore
Philadelphia by himself and help the Pistons take a 12-8 lead.

Philadelphia responded by scoring off turnovers, forced and
unforced, with a 12-2 run and led 22-20 after the first
quarter.

The Sixers quickly took control with their quickness at both
ends of the court. Philadelphia took a 33-20 in the second quarter
on Young’s three-point play after he grabbed the defensive rebound,
made an outlet pass and got the ball back from Evan Turner to set
up a spinning layup down the lane.

”Their bench changed the game,” Frank said. ”They’ve got one
of the best benches in the game, and they started the second
quarter with a 11-0 run. Thaddeus Young really hurt us in the first
half and Louis Williams really hurt us in the second half.”

Philadelphia jumped into passing lanes to make some steals and
sometimes benefited from Detroit’s bad plays such as one half-court
set that ended with Monroe tossing the ball onto Brandon Knight’s
back and led to Iguodala’s dunk at the other end.

Philadelphia led by 17 in the second quarter and was ahead 50-34
at halftime.

The Pistons didn’t make one shot outside the lane in the first
half, connecting on just 35 percent from anywhere, and allowed the
Sixers to make almost 48 percent of their shots over the first two
quarters.

Holiday opened the second half with a shot and Stuckey was
called for a 3-second violation on Detroit’s first possession of
the third quarter, setting the tone for both teams. Philadelphia
took control for good in the third quarter it coasted the rest of
the way toward an easy victory.

Heckling fans could easily be heard in the mostly empty arena
and one shouted, ”I can’t watch this stuff anymore,” late in the
third quarter as the Sixers led by 23 points.

Former Pistons coach Michael Curry led the Sixers when Collins
left the bench.

NOTES: Collins said Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes, who will
miss at least the next two weeks because of a strained left
Achilles, will return to play March 12 at Utah if he doesn’t have a
setback. Hawes will not play in back-to-back games and won’t play
for more than 5 minutes in any quarter during the first 10 days of
his return, according to Collins. … First-year Pistons owner Tom
Gores attended the game.