Pistons seek 11th victory in 13 games Saturday
The Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers were suffering through equally miserable starts when they met at The Palace of Auburn Hills in early December.
While the 76ers have shown some improvement so far in 2015, red-hot Brandon Jennings and the Pistons have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround and seek their 11th victory in 13 games when they host the 76ers on Saturday night (7 p.m. pregame, 7:30 tip-off on FOX Sports Detroit).
Detroit (15-25) fell to 3-17 with a 108-101 overtime loss Dec. 6 against Philadelphia, which improved to 2-18 after its 0-17 start to the season. The Pistons were held without a field goal in OT and lost their 11th straight on an eventual 13-game slide.
It was the 76ers’ second straight victory over Detroit after snapping a record-tying, 26-game skid with a 123-98 home rout in the previous meeting March 29.
The Pistons have come a long way since the December loss, bumping their scoring average from 94.4 during a 5-23 start to 105.2 over their last 12 following Friday’s thrilling 98-96 win at Indiana.
Jennings had a season-best 37 points and career high-tying eight 3-pointers, but he missed a layup attempt on the final possession before Andre Drummond tipped in the winner with 0.3 seconds left. Drummond finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
"If I see a couple shots falling, everyone knows I’m going to keep shooting," Jennings said after the team record-tying seventh straight road win. "I was able to get into a rhythm and also find guys, so everything kind of worked out."
The veteran point guard has scored 23.9 per game – 8.4 above his average – while shooting 45.3 percent from 3-point range in his past nine. However, he’s totaled just 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting in his last two versus Philadelphia.
Greg Monroe is averaging 17.8 points and 12.2 rebounds in his last six. He’s also put up 18.7 points and 10.3 boards per game in his last three against the 76ers after finishing with 15 and nine in December.
The Pistons have played better defensively over their last 11 games, allowing an average of 95.6 points. That’s a trend they should be able to continue against a Philadelphia team that has scored 89.0 per game over its last 16.
The 76ers (8-31), however, have won four of seven since opening 4-28. Michael Carter-Williams had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Nerlens Noel added 17 points and 11 boards in Friday’s 96-81 home win over New Orleans.
"When you start getting wins, you get greedy," coach Brett Brown said. "You want them all."
Carter-Williams is playing well with 23.7 points per game on 50.9 percent shooting in his last three. He had 20 points and 15 assists last month at Detroit, giving him an average of 20.7 points, 7.6 assists and 7.3 boards in his past three meetings.
Robert Covington, averaging 15.4 points in his last seven games, scored 18 in his return Friday after missing one game due to a shoulder injury. He finished with a career-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting in the first matchup with the Pistons.
Philadelphia, though, will be without leading scorer Tony Wroten (16.9 points per game) due to a sprained right knee.
The 76ers have limited opponents to 93.6 points per game over their last seven and held the Pistons to 39.1 percent shooting – including 6 of 23 from 3-point range – in December.