AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Andre Drummond had 25 points and 18 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons rallied to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-97 on Wednesday night.
Drummond, who came into the game having gone 1 for 14 from the line in the last two games, even hit seven of his 12 free throws. Reggie Jackson added 27 points, while rookie Stanley Johnson had 18 off the bench.
Jeremi Grant scored 21 points for the Sixers, while Nerlens Noel had 20.
The 76ers played without starters Jahlil Okafor and JaKarr Sampson, who both missed their second game in two nights with the flu.
Without them, the Sixers didn’t have the legs to keep up with Detroit down the stretch. A victory would have given Philadelphia its first two-game winning streak of the season.
Philadelphia led 79-74 going into the fourth, but Johnson’s floater tied it at 86 with 7:31 to play. Johnson scored again on Detroit’s next possession, and Jackson’s 3-pointer put the Pistons up 91-90.
Detroit was within 45-44 at the half, but couldn’t stop Noel early in the third. A very rare three-point play by Drummond, the worst free-throw shooter in league history, helped Detroit stay in the game, but Isaiah Canaan topped him with a four-point play late in the period.
Noel and Grant outscored the Pistons 14-12 in the first quarter as Philadelphia built an eight-point lead. Even with the Sixers on the second half of a back-to-back, it was Detroit that came out without any energy — something Stan Van Gundy has complained about all year.
The Sixers still led 36-26 with five minutes left in the second, but Detroit’s offense finally showed up while Philadelphia stopped hitting shots. After a huge mistake when Drummond was called for goaltending on a 3-pointer, Detroit narrowed the gap when Jackson pulled up, pump-faked and banked in a buzzer-beating 3.
Both teams failed to break 40 percent from the floor in the half, but the Pistons were able to stay close despite nine turnovers by outscoring the Sixers 11-6 from the free throw line.
76ers: Former Michigan star Nik Stauskas, moved into the starting lineup by Sampson’s illness, received a mixed reaction from the Palace crowd, which tends to favor former Michigan State players over ex-Wolverines.
Pistons: Detroit’s 12-point first quarter matched its lowest single-quarter output of the season. The Pistons had six turnovers in the period and only five baskets.
76ers: Host Golden State on Saturday
Pistons: Host Cleveland on Friday