76ers-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

First-year coach Brett Brown contends the Philadelphia 76ers' struggles are exactly what he expected from a team going through an arduous rebuilding process.

He also believes the responsibility falls squarely on his shoulders to improve the club.

Philadelphia looks to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat overall and seventh straight on the road Sunday when it faces the Detroit Pistons, who are going through some growing pains of their own.

The 76ers (6-11) did plenty of house cleaning after a disappointing 2012-13 season, shaking up the front office, trading leading scorer Jrue Holiday to New Orleans and hiring Brown - a former assistant with many successful San Antonio teams.

Philadelphia won its first three games before dropping 11 of 14, including giving up 20 points to Holiday in Friday's 121-105 loss to the Pelicans. It has allowed at least 102 points 15 times this season and ranks last in the NBA in team defense, giving up 109.8 per game. That average is at 113.8 during a six-game road losing streak.

"We've said from Day 1 as this thing unfolds, we're going to take some hits and it's going to be a test," Brown said. "It's going to be a test for the city. It's going to be a test for the team. We have forecasted this from Day 1. It's my job to make sure we keep everybody focused in relation to what we're trying to accomplish here."

Brown knows he needs to see improvement from his players but feels the 76ers aren't void of talent.

"I'm going to do my job with a team I really like coaching," Brown said. "They're young and they make mistakes. It gets deflating at times, and it's part of the process from time to time. It's going to have to start with me."

Evan Turner, in the final year of his contract and not signed to an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline, is averaging a team-best 21.4 points after scoring 22 and hitting 9 of 15 from the field Friday.

"We're not even 20 games in yet," Turner said. "You can't really get too up and down emotionally, you just have to find a way to figure it out and keep working. You have to come in each day of practice with a new mindset."

Maurice Cheeks is attempting to make sure his players do just that in his first season as Pistons coach. Detroit (6-10), which hasn't had a winning record since 2007-08, has lost four of six after falling 106-102 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

The Pistons set an NBA season high with 76 points in the paint - Philadelphia's 74 against Washington on Nov. 1 was the previous high - but finished 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

Detroit ranks last in the league hitting 28.8 percent of its 3-point attempts.

"Obviously, at some point we've got to make shots," said Cheeks, a former Sixers coach and player. "We live on the inside. At some point, we will make those shots."

Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points off the bench, while Andre Drummond added 13 and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who were outscored 29-15 in the fourth quarter.

"It happens. We just got to figure out how to close games," Drummond said. "It was a tough loss."

Greg Monroe had 27 points and 16 rebounds to lead Detroit to a 109-101 win over the 76ers in the last meeting April 15.

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