The Detroit Pistons appeared to be in good position to snap their longest losing streak in more than 15 years in the fourth quarter of their last game, only to see another win slip away from them.
They may have another favorable chance to end the skid with the Philadelphia 76ers coming to town.
The Pistons look to avoid a 12th straight defeat Saturday night when they host the 76ers, who have blown double-digit leads in consecutive losses.
Ben Gordon(notes) made a jumper to open the fourth quarter against San Antonio on Wednesday, tying the game at 77 and seemingly giving the Pistons a good shot at getting their first win since Dec. 12. But Detroit was outscored 35-15 the rest of the way en route to a 112-92 defeat.
“We played good for 36 minutes,” said Tayshaun Prince(notes), who had seven points and six assists. “No matter if you play a good team or a bad team, if you don’t play for 48 minutes, that’s what happens.”
The Pistons’ skid is their longest since they dropped their final 13 games of the 1993-94 season. Detroit has an average margin of defeat of 13.1 points during the current losing streak, with all but three games decided by 10 points or more.
Despite the drought, the Pistons have been encouraged by their play over the last two games. They fell 98-93 at Dallas before their strong three quarters against the Spurs.
“(Ending the streak is) not going to be easy, we all know that,” Richard Hamilton(notes) said Wednesday. “Nothing is going to be given to us. We just know that we’re going in the right direction. The last two games we’ve been playing great, we just haven’t been finishing it. We haven’t been finishing games. We’ll do better.”
They’ll try to do so against a Philadelphia team that’s had similar problems. The 76ers led by 18 in a loss to Washington on Tuesday and had a 13-point advantage in a 108-106 loss to Toronto on Friday. They’ve led by 10-plus points in each of their last three losses and are 7-8 this season when holding a double-digit lead at any point.
“We’re jumping out and holding leads and we just can’t hold them,” said Allen Iverson(notes), who scored a season-high 22 against the Raptors. “We play well for a while and then it seems we just lose focus.”
Iverson, though, won’t be making his first trip to The Palace of Auburn Hills since his tumultuous stint with the Pistons last season due to an arthritic left knee. Detroit acquired him to rejuvenate the team, but he grew unsatisfied with his role as a reserve and ultimately played in only three of the Pistons’ last 26 games.
Philadelphia signed Iverson in December after a failed attempt to resurrect his career with Memphis, but he hasn’t been able to turn around the Sixers either.
Philadelphia has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and before Friday’s game, team president Ed Stefanski refused to say coach Eddie Jordan’s job was safe for the rest of the season, nor did he offer a single word of praise for his first-year coach.
The Sixers have lost both meetings with the Pistons this season after winning four of the previous five in the series. All five Philadelphia starters scored in double figures in the last meeting Dec. 9, but Rodney Stuckey(notes) scored 27 points and hit the winning shot with 8.7 seconds left as the Pistons took a 90-86 road win.
Stuckey is averaging 21.0 points and 5.0 assists in his last three games against Philadelphia.