By Peter Gleason
The Sixers played the Pistons last night without their star point guard Ben Simmons on the road in Detroit.
And they managed to lead for most of the game and, most importantly, in the dying seconds of overtime.
After J.J. Redick’s four-point play gave them a one-point lead with 5.6 seconds left, Blake Griffin capped off a 50-point night with a 3-point play with 1.8 second left in overtime, giving Detroit a 133-132 victory to remain perfect on this young season.
Each Pistons victory has been by one possession.
And Griffin has been the difference.
Griffin is averaging 36.3 points and is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 61.1 percent from 3-point range after going 20-for-35 against the 76ers. He was 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
Griffin’s 50-point night is the first in franchise history since Rip Hamilton scored 51 points in 2006.
Griffin kept the Pistons (3-0) in the game with 28 points in the first half, but his late heroics gave the crowd a jolt.
After Redick scored against the defense of Reggie Jackson, Pistons coach Dwane Casey called time-out.
The ball was in-bounded to Griffin, who faked a dribble handoff to Reggie Bullock before heading to the basket.
He got the lay-up to fall and was fouled by Sixers forward Robert Covington.
He calmly sank the free throw.
Pachulia, in for Andre Drummond who was ejected from the game, forced a Joel Embiid miss at the buzzer to send the sparse, but loud, crowd home happy.
Embiid, who thoroughly dominated Drummond, finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the 76ers (2-2).
Drummond was awful, forcing the action when it wasn’t there. And he would compound the problem by not getting back on defense when he wasn’t bailed out by a call.
And Embiid let him hear about it.
Drummond earned his first technical after arguing a non-call.
But his second technical was an Embiid flop.
Drummond grabbed a defensive rebound and raised his left arm to fend off Embiid.
Embiid could have earned an Emmy for the way he acted.
But referee James Williams was fooled and Drummond was hit with his second foul.
Embiid yelled: “Get him out of here!”
Embiid tried to deflect from Drummond since the Pistons won, but with prodding, he finally gave the reporters what they wanted.
“Obviously, on the second [technical], you can see that he hit me and his hand actually touched my face,” Embiid said. “So that’s his problem.
“Like I said, I feel like I own a lot of real estate in his head.”
Drummond wasn’t available after the game, but responded on Twitter.