“This was our best win of the year under those circumstances,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
By Jack Ryan
Jimmy Butler scored 38 points and the Sixers overcame Joel Embiid’s absence to rally from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Pistons 117-111.
Blake Griffin had 31 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit.
The 76ers rested Embiid, who missed his first game of the season, but Detroit couldn’t take advantage of the big man’s absence.
Butler, who also scored 38 points in a loss at Toronto on Wednesday night, had 26 in the second half, but it was the fourth-quarter defense that stood out.
Detroit shot 9 of 26 from the field in the fourth. The Pistons attempted 33 free throws in the first three quarters, but they took only four in the final period as the Sixers shut them down.
“Defense is always going to win games,” Butler said. “Especially late in the year, which is what we want to end up playing.”
The Pistons led 71-56 in the third before Philly went on a 22-5 run to take the lead. Detroit was up 98-92 in the fourth, but the 76ers went on a 16-2 tear to take control.
The Pistons were up 100-97 when Detroit coach Dwane Casey received a technical foul arguing a foul call. JJ Redick made the free throw, and then added a 3-pointer to put the Sixers ahead to stay. The 76ers then ran off another seven points in a row.
Griffin received a technical of his own in the last couple minutes of the game.
Philadelphia had 30 points off 18 Detroit turnovers.
“I like our guys’ effort. I like our guys’ fight,” Casey said. “They’re scratching and clawing but you have to take care of the ball. If you turn the ball over against any team in the NBA, you’re not going to survive very long.”