76ers-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

Not much has gone right for the Philadelphia 76ers the last two weeks, though they still enter the second half of the season atop the Atlantic Division.

Another victory over the Detroit Pistons would help them start to get back on track.

Visiting Philadelphia seeks to end a five-game losing streak by beating Detroit for the third time this season Tuesday night.

The All-Star break probably couldn't have come at a better time for the 76ers (20-14), who fell 93-87 at Houston on Wednesday for their seventh loss in nine games.

Tuesday's game ends a stretch of seven of eight on the road, where Philadelphia has lost four straight to drop to 7-8 away from home.

"You go through these stretches in the season where you're just not making shots," said guard Louis Williams, who scored 17 points. "We've been going through that the last five games."

The Sixers were averaging 95.9 points prior to their losing streak but have scored 83.2 during their skid. Still, they lead New York by 3 1/2 games in the Atlantic.

''I would say that we'd be happy to be where we are now, when the season started,'' said swingman Andre Iguodala, who scored 11 points Wednesday and had 12 in Sunday's All-Star game. ''We put ourselves in position to be one of the top teams in our division. We are where we want to be, but not playing the way we want to now. Every team is going through tough stretches like this.''

Especially Detroit (11-24), which has been up and down all month.

The Pistons won four in a row from Feb. 2-10 before dropping consecutive games to Washington and San Antonio, won three straight and then lost their last two before the break.

Detroit blew a 17-point lead in a 101-100 defeat to Cleveland last Tuesday before falling 103-93 in Toronto the following night.

''We've shown what we're capable of both ends of the spectrum,'' coach Lawrence Frank said. ''Do we want to be the group that played the first 24 games (4-20), or the group that was able to put together consistent basketball (7-4) for a little stretch?

''We want to be that (second) group. You have to mentally and physically engaged to do it every night and that's what we have to commit to.''

Greg Monroe scored 30 points and added 14 rebounds for his third straight double-double Wednesday, though Rodney Stuckey was held scoreless after averaging 23.5 points in his previous five games.

''We have to find a way to stay focused, no matter the circumstances,'' Monroe said.

The Pistons have lost both meetings with the Sixers by more than 20 points. Philadelphia ran away in the fourth quarter for a 96-73 win Jan. 6 despite a game-high 22 points from Monroe, then had six players score in double figures in a 95-74 victory Jan. 28.

The 76ers have won three of the last four meetings, all played in Philadelphia. The Pistons, though, have taken three of the last four home matchups, the most recent a 112-109 overtime victory Jan. 8, 2011, behind a game-high 23 points from Tayshaun Prince.

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