Philadelphia (33-46) at Detroit (51-28)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Auburn Hills, MI
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 6:00 pm EDT Sun Apr 15, 2007
  • TV: WMYD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chris Webber will face his former team for the second time this season when the Detroit Pistons host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Webber, though, might not see too much action, as the Pistons (51-28) have already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

On their way to their sixth consecutive postseason appearances, the Pistons have secured the Central Division title for the third straight season and the East’s No. 1 seed for the third time in five years.

The Pistons are 30-13 since Webber signed as a free agent on Jan. 16, five days after the Sixers bought out his contract.

They are coming off an 87-84 loss to Toronto on Friday, when none of Detroit’s regular starters played more than 30 minutes.

“We definitely want to win every game, but also we want to give guys a chance that haven’t played to play and stay injury-free,” said Webber, who went 1-for-9 from the floor and scored six points in 27 minutes. “We can keep using it to work on different schemes, different play calling, so it is really just a different scenario but we still want to win.”

While the Pistons can rest their top players for what they hope will be a deep playoff run, the Sixers (33-46) are on the opposite end of the spectrum, eliminated from postseason contention.

After losing 104-87 to Orlando on Saturday, Philadelphia will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years.

The Sixers, though, were alive longer than many expected after dumping two of their best players this winter. Following a 5-18 start to the season, Philadelphia is 28-28 since trading Allen Iverson on Dec. 19, and 24-20 since waiving Webber.

“I’m proud of the players,” coach Maurice Cheeks said. “The type of character players we have got us back to the point where we are today. I’m looking forward to the future.”

Andre Miller, acquired in the Iverson trade, had 18 points and eight rebounds against Orlando. Andre Iguodala was held to 14 points and shot 3-for-12 from the floor in his return from a two-game absence due to a strained lower back.

Despite his rough night, Iguodala has emerged as the Sixers’ top player, averaging 19.6 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds since Iverson’s departure. He is one of only four players in the NBA to average at least 15.0 points, 5.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game this season, joining Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady.

“It has been a long season and there have been a lot of ups and downs,” Philadelphia forward Kyle Korver said. “We didn’t get to where we wanted to be. We wanted to make it to the playoffs, but we are proud of what we accomplished. I feel like some of the players found themselves and made individual improvements.”

Iguodala has struggled against Detroit, averaging just 11.3 points in three games against the Pistons this year. The Sixers are 0-3 in those games, and have six straight meetings - and 11 of 12 - to Detroit. They have also lost their last five visits to The Palace of Auburn Hills.

When these teams last met on March 20, Tayshaun Prince scored 30 points to lead the Pistons to a 96-75 win at home. Webber had nine points and seven rebounds in his first game against his former club since leaving the 76ers.

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Sunday, Apr 15