76ers-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons had to sit through some unexpected time away from the court this week.

On Saturday night, the Pistons finally return to action when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.

Detroit hasn't played since ending a four-game losing streak with a 103-87 victory over Orlando on Tuesday. The Pistons were scheduled to follow that up with a game in Atlanta on Wednesday, but that contest was postponed because of the snowstorm that blanketed the South, giving them extra time off before this matchup.

Now, Detroit (18-27) will try to take advantage of a struggling opponent and win for only the fifth time in 16 games. Playing at home hasn't been much of an advantage for the Pistons, who haven't won consecutive contests at The Palace since the first two games of the season.

Another effort inside similar to the one they had against the Magic and the Pistons could end that drought. They outrebounded Orlando 56-40, held a 44-22 advantage in points in the paint and 20-7 in fast-break points.

Brandon Jennings led the way with 20 points and eight assists, while Andre Drummond added 13 points and 17 rebounds.

It was a bounce-back performance by Drummond, who received a pep talk from coach Maurice Cheeks after he matched a season low with four points and grabbed six rebounds in a 116-106 loss at Dallas on Sunday.

''I told him at shootaround that he's human,'' Cheeks said. ''He's entitled to have a bad game. It's important to see how you bounce back.''

Drummond could be poised for another big game after he had 11 points, 12 boards and six blocked shots in Detroit's 114-104 win over the 76ers on Jan. 10. In the teams' first meeting this season, he scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds in a 115-100 win Dec. 1.

Philadelphia's struggles continued with a 125-99 loss to Atlanta on Friday. Thaddeus Young sored 29 points for the 76ers, losers of 11 of 14.

"It was the poorest performance of our season," coach Brett Brown said. "The effort wasn't there and Thad was our shining light. As a group, him included, we have no appreciation for the importance of playing defense. You either play defense or you don't."

Poor defensive play is nothing new for Philadelphia (15-32), which allows a league-worst 109.6 points per game. Opponents have scored 111.5 per contest and shot 48.2 percent from the field over the last four games.

Rookie Michael Carter-Williams continues to struggle with his shot. He's averaged 14.3 points on 34.5 percent (19 for 55) from the field in the last four games.

Saturday will be another tough assignment for the 76ers, who will try to improve on a 2-6 road record on the second game of back-to-backs.

The Pistons have won five of the last six meetings overall and three straight at home.

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