Pistons-76ers Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers have avoided consecutive defeats so far this season but it's been nearly two weeks since they've earned back-to-back wins. A visit from the Detroit Pistons might help them remedy that.

The 76ers will try to build on a strong defensive performance Saturday night while attempting to deny the Pistons only their second road win this season.

Philadelphia (13-6) has split six games since a 9-1 stretch, and kept a pattern of alternating losses and wins going with an 89-72 win over lowly Charlotte on Friday night.

The Atlantic Division leaders limited the Bobcats to 38.6 percent shooting and a 4-for-15 performance from 3-point range while allowing their second-fewest points in a game this season. For the second straight contest, Lou Williams had a team-best 17 points off the bench.

"We've always been good at bouncing back," point guard Jrue Holiday said.

Holiday and the rest of Philadelphia's starters also got plenty of rest during the rout and that could help them Saturday.

"To not have guys play heavy minutes is a real blessing," coach Doug Collins said.

Collins' team is seeking its first back-to-back wins since a three-game run Jan. 13-16. The 76ers might have a chance to pull that off against the Pistons (4-16), who are 1-8 on the road and coming off another bitter defeat.

The 76ers, meanwhile, own one of the best home records in the Eastern Conference at 9-2 and blew out Detroit 96-73 at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 6 as Jodie Meeks scored 21 points.

Collins, though, isn't taking the Pistons lightly.

"Detroit is better than its record," he said. "They're playing good basketball, and they've got good guards. They're a very good defensive team. We're going to have to play well to get that game tomorrow night."

After falling short against Miami two days earlier, Detroit appeared that it might earn its third win in 15 games and first in three contests Friday. Instead, the Pistons blew a six-point lead over Atlanta in the final 54 seconds of regulation en route to a 107-101 overtime loss.

"We kicked that game. We should have won the game, but we didn't make winning plays down the stretch," coach Lawrence Frank said. "I think we were defeated as soon as (the tying 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left) went in, and the game went to overtime. We have to be mentally tougher than that.''

Greg Monroe scored at least 20 points for the second straight game with 22. He also had a team-best 22 during the loss in Philadelphia earlier this month.

The Pistons might have as many as four players out for this visit. Tayshaun Prince is dealing with a family matter while Ben Gordon (shoulder), Will Bynum (foot) and Charlie Villanueva (ankle) are injured.

The status of Philadelphia starting center Spencer Hawes is unknown because of a strained left Achilles, and rookie big man Nik Vucevic is dealing with a left knee quad strain.

The teams have split their last six overall matchups with the 76ers winning two of the last three. All three of those games have been in Philadelphia.

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