ROAD WARRIOR, EMBIID-LESS SIXERS BLOW OUT PISTONS 97-79!

By Sam Bush

All of a sudden the Sixers are road warriors!

Three days after ending a long losing streak away from home, and playing without center Joel Embiid (rest), the Sixers got balanced scoring to beat the Detroit Pistons 97-79 last night for their second consecutive road victory after going nearly a year without one.

Robert Covington (above) had 16 points and Ersan Ilyasova scored 15 to lead five players in double figures for the Sixers, who raced to a 25-point advantage in the first half.

The 76ers had matched a franchise record by losing 23 straight road games before beating New Orleans last Thursday. That was their first win away from home since Jan. 20 last season at Orlando.

“We’re a young team and we have so many offensive and defensive weapons,” said Covington, who also had seven rebounds and two steals. “Once we lock in and do what we’re supposed to do, this team can become really scary.”

Jahlil Okafor had 14 points and nine rebounds, and T.J. McConnell added 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Sixers, who snapped a four-game losing streak against the Pistons.

“All over the place, people contributed,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “It was a Philly-hard effort.”

Marcus Morris scored 28 points and Andre Drummond finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit, which fell behind 32-12 in the first quarter and never led.

“They were playing way too fast for us,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We weren’t the least bit ready to play.”

The 76ers shot 72 percent in the opening quarter, including 57 percent from 3-point range, to open a commanding lead. The Sixers took a 58-35 edge into halftime.

“That was by far one of our best starts,” Covington said. “We were assisting on the offensive end and executing on the defensive end.”

The Pistons fought back in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 80-64 heading into the final period.

Detroit used an 8-0 run, capped by Morris’ 3-pointer, to get to 87-79 with 4:23 left. Philly, however, scored the final 10 points to seal it.

“Hats off to them,” said Pistons guard Reggie Jackson, who scored 10 points on 5-of-17 shooting. “They ran circles around us and kicked our butts.”

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