The Detroit Pistons faced two of the Eastern Conference’s top five teams in the beginning of leading scorer Brandon Jennings’ lengthy absence and the results have been predictable.
The short-handed Pistons could have a better chance against a Philadelphia 76ers team that’s also missing its top scorer and will try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss in Wednesday night’s visit to the Wells Fargo Center.
Detroit (17-29) lost Jennings for the season because of a ruptured left Achilles he suffered in a 101-86 loss in Milwaukee on Saturday. The Pistons have kept it close in their first two games without him but have lost both – to Toronto and Cleveland – by a combined 12 points.
"We’ve got good enough players to win," coach Stan Van Gundy said after a 103-95 defeat to the Cavaliers on Tuesday. "We had good enough players in there tonight to win. We just needed to do a couple of things better, and we’re not going to come in here after every loss now and talk about Brandon’s effect on it – at least I’m not."
Van Gundy’s team has given up an average of 109.0 points in the last four games after yielding 95.9 in the previous 14. Detroit won 11 of those 14 games and took a 107-89 victory over Philadelphia (8-37) on Jan. 17.
Kyle Singler’s 20 points led six players in double figures. Singler also matched a season high with 21 points in a 108-101 overtime loss to the 76ers on Dec. 6.
That was Philadelphia’s second win in three games but the 76ers have lost six in a row heading into this matchup with the last two defeats by a combined 43 points. Philadelphia shot 34.6 percent in a 99-74 loss in New Orleans on Monday and has been held under 39.0 percent in five consecutive games, its longest streak since Dec. 19-28, 1997.
Michael Carter-Williams missed the latest game due to an upper respiratory infection and is questionable for this one. Tony Wroten, averaging a team-best 16.9 points and 5.2 assists, is out indefinitely because of a partially torn right ACL.
"I don’t think there’s anybody else that could do what (Wroten) did," coach Brett Brown told the team’s official website. "He was such a kamikaze, attacking, fearless, competitive player that the city just fell in love with.
"As a team, we have to take what he brought us in terms of speed and pushing the ball and remember that’s who we are."
Carter-Williams had 20 points and 15 assists – one shy of matching his career high – in the overtime win against Detroit in December. Wroten missed both of this season’s matchups due to knee injuries, including his current one.
Robert Covington had a career-high 25 points Dec. 6 but was held to nine while starting in the loss to the Pistons earlier this month.
Philadelphia has won four of the past six home matchups with Detroit. Carter-Williams had 21 points in a 123-98 victory March 29 that ended an NBA record-tying 26-game losing streak.
The Pistons have dropped three straight on the road, one shy of tying a season high.
Because of the winter storm in the Northeast, the 76ers chose to stay an extra night in New Orleans.