After an impressive stretch, the Philadelphia 76ers have a chance to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Seeking what was once an improbable playoff berth, the 76ers will try for a ninth win in 11 home games when they meet the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Seven players scored in double figures as Philadelphia (28-29) outscored Washington by 31 points over the second and third quarters en route to a 117-94 win Wednesday night.
“I think it was a great thing to see us push forward in the second half,” said forward Thaddeus Young(notes), who had 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. “We’ve had too many games this season where we let teams back in it. We didn’t do that this time and I think it’s a sign of us maturing as a team.”
Following a 3-13 start, it looked as though the 76ers would miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season. However, they have since gone 25-16 and climbed into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
“Anytime we become a .500 team or above, it says a lot about where we came from or what we came through,” said Young, averaging 19.5 points on 64.0 percent shooting in his last four games. “We’ve had a lot of obstacles and a lot of different things in front of us, and we all took the steps to get here. Now we are on one path of trying to get to the playoffs.”
Philadelphia’s success can be partly attributed to holding opponents to an average of 91.9 points while taking 17 of 22 at home. The 76ers could make things difficult on the Pistons, who are tied for last in the NBA with 90.9 points per game on the road.
The 76ers have lost four of five meetings with the Pistons, falling 112-109 in overtime at Detroit on Jan. 8 as Iguodala sat out with Achilles’ tendinitis.
Despite trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half Wednesday night, the Pistons (21-38) rallied and nearly escaped with a road victory. Indiana, though, scored with 5.4 seconds remaining to hand Detroit a 102-101 loss - its fifth in six games.
“It felt good to be in the game like that, but I’d rather come out with a win,” said Monroe, who registered 16 points and 13 boards Jan. 8. “We have to play the whole game like we did the fourth quarter and we might have a different outcome.”
Tayshaun Prince(notes), who also came up big with 23 points last month against the 76ers, went a season-worst 0 for 9 from the field in Tuesday night’s 108-100 loss against Houston and missed his first three shots Wednesday before leaving with a back injury. His status for this game is unknown.