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Drummond's big game paces Pistons' victory

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Second-year center Andre Drummond placed himself in heady company on Sunday. If he can learn to shoot free throws, he may have no peer.

Drummond poured in a career-high 31 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and made six steals to power the Detroit Pistons past the slumping Philadelphia 76ers 115-100 on Sunday afternoon at The Palace.

The 20-year-old Drummond became the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990 to have a 31-19-6 game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Drummond, who was 12-for-15 from the floor, is the only player besides another Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley, to score at least 30 on 80 percent shooting, have 18-plus rebounds and 5-plus steals in a game.

Drummond, whose previous high was 29 points against Cleveland in April, was more impressed by his team snapping a two-game losing streak.

"I'm worried about what's happening right now and what's going on today," he said. "Today was a great win but we've got another one on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today's over. You can celebrate for only so long. We've got another one coming up."

Drummond could have had a bigger game had he not missed 11 of 18 free throw tries. Philadelphia employed a Hack-A-Dre strategy during the third quarter, when he missed nine of 12. Drummond finally got the hang of it in the fourth, when he only missed one of five.

"When teams do that, it's like a slap in the face," he said. "It was good for me. It gave me a chance to take my time and sink the free throws. I know I can shoot them."

Sixers coach Brett Brown felt compelled to change the tempo of the game by fouling Drummond, who is shooting 32.1 percent from the foul line.

"It is one of those ugly parts of the game," he said. "You do not really like doing it, to be honest with you. But it is a rule and it helped our team. He has not been a good free-throw shooter this year."

Drummond normally gets his points by being active around the rim and running the floor, but coach Mo Cheeks ran some plays for him on Sunday. He displayed an improving jump hook while shooting a high percentage.

"That's going to be a coach's decision but he's going to get his points regardless," point guard Brandon Jennings said. "He crashes the boards and runs the floor well, so he's not even a guy you really have to run a play for. He's going to get his regardless."

Jennings had 20 points and 12 assists for Detroit (7-10), which had a season high in points. Forward Josh Smith added 20 points and reserve guard Rodney Stuckey chipped in 17.

Detroit forward Greg Monroe was ejected with 10:15 remaining for picking up two second-half technical fouls.

The Pistons, who never trailed, had their highest scoring half with 70 points as well as their first 40-point quarter.

Power forward Thaddeus Young had 24 points and small forward Evan Turner supplied 20 for the Sixers (6-12), who have lost eight of their last nine and seven straight on the road.

"It's pretty obvious we need to come out better," Philadelphia guard Michael Carter-Williams said. "We need to play better defense. We're doing fine scoring. It's not the points, it's our defense."

Jennings achieved his fifth double-double by halftime with 13 points and 11 assists. He had a 3-pointer, an assist on a Smith 3-pointer and two free throws in the last two minutes of the half to make it 70-46.

The Sixers turned up the pressure in the third quarter, forcing seven turnovers as they crept within 10. Drummond restored order in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, scoring nine points, including three free throws, to push the lead to 20, 105-85.

NOTES: Pistons reserve PG Will Bynum underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a left adductor strain. He missed his second straight game and seventh of the last nine. There is no timetable for his return. ... Philadelphia rookie SF Hollis Thompson made his first start and scored six points. ... The teams have a combined nine rookies on their rosters. ... Philadelphia G Michael Carter-Williams' 223 points through the first 13 games of his career were the second most by a Sixers rookie. Allen Iverson had 287 points in that span during the 1996-97 season. ... Detroit plays two-time defending champion Miami twice during the next seven days.
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