One night after a rare poor defensive effort led to a loss in Toronto, the Pistons limited Iverson to eight points in the second half and beat the 76ers 99-91 Saturday night.
“Last night, the whole team seemed a step slow,” Detroit interim coach Gar Heard said. “Tonight, we were aggressive right from the start.”
Heard is filling in for Larry Brown, who is hospitalized after having hip surgery on Wednesday. He has missed two games, and is expected to return on Nov. 17.
Chauncey Billups led the way for Detroit, finishing with 20 points and 10 assists.
“We’ve got a lot of offensive weapons, but defense is where we make our living,” Billups said. “Tonight, the defense stepped up and made them take a lot of tough shots, and they didn’t make enough of them to beat us.”
Iverson scored a game-high 31 points for the Sixers.
“They started giving me a lot more attention in the second half—trapping me and doubling,” Iverson said. “So, I started looking for the other guys. That’s what a point guard is supposed to do.”
Philadelphia coach Jim O’Brien thinks that his All-Star needs more help.
“Allen can’t always carry the load by himself,” he said. “He’s playing back-to-back games and he’s got to push the ball and defend one of their best players. We need to establish an inside game, but that’s tough to do against Detroit.”
The Pistons blocked 13 shots, including five by Ben Wallace, who added 11 points and 16 rebounds.
“It’s a nightmare,” Iverson said. “You work the ball in close and it comes flying right back at you. But you have to keep trying.”
Billups scored 18 first-half points and helped Detroit to a 53-46 lead at the break.
The Sixers got within five points, but Rasheed Wallace scored seven straight to give the Pistons a 60-48 lead early in the third quarter.
Rasheed Wallace finished with 12 points in the period, and Tayshaun Prince took over defensive duties on Iverson and held him to four points.
“Tayshaun is a very good defensive player and he’s long,” Heard said. “He’s the kind of guy who can give Allen trouble.”
Philadelphia scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, but Antonio McDyess countered with six points in an 8-2 run that helped put the game out of reach.
“I wasn’t looking for shots—I was looking to come in and play defense and the rest just happened,” said McDyess, who had 12 points after scoring just
Corliss Williamson received a standing ovation while getting his NBA championship ring from Pistons owner Bill Davidson before the game. Williamson and Hamilton are the only active players to have won NCAA and NBA titles. … Hamilton, who had been wearing a protective face mask for several months, discarded it during the first half. … Iverson was given a technical for arguing a third-quarter call.