PHILADELPHIA -- Small ball did not work.
The 76ers tried to combat the Detroit Pistons' towering front court with a small athletic lineup. The only problem was the Sixers had a tough time grabbing rebounds.
And despite how frantic and competitive they made things, they were just eventually too small.
The Pistons prevailed, 114-104, on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, thanks in large part to holding a commanding 62-42 rebounding advantage.
The loss dropped the Sixers, losers of three straight games, to 12-24 on the season. They are also 0-2 against the Pistons (15-21). Detroit embarrassed the Sixers, 115-100, on Dec. 1 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
This time around, the Sixers' margin of error was extremely small. Miss a shot and the Pistons would likely grab the rebound. If Pistons missed a rebound, they liked grabbed that too, as evident on their 25-13 offensive rebounding edge.
When they weren't grabbing rebounds, the Pistons blocked 14 of their smaller opponents' shots.
As a result, Detroit towering front of swingman Josh Smith (6-foot-9), power forward Greg Monroe (6-11) and center Andre Drummond (6-11) feasted on the Sixers.
Smith finished with a team-high 22 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals. Drummond had 11 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, while Monroe added 15 points and 10 rebounds
But the hope was to have a different outcome against a Pistons squad that entered the game with six consecutive setbacks.
James Anderson started in place of Hollis Thompson at shooting guard, marking his first start since Nov. 29. Ironically, Thompson's first of 18 consecutive starts came against the Pistons.
But this time, the 6-8 rookie played the role of a reserve power forward. The Sixers combated the Smith (6-foot-9), Monroe (6-11) and Drummond (6-11) with small and athletic lineup.
The goal was to get the Pistons, especially Drummond, out of their comfort zone. Drummond, a second-year player, recorded career highs of 31 points, 19 rebounds and 6 steals in the teams' first meeting.
The Sixers' tactic worked early.
They made their first seven baskets and built a commanding 16-point lead in the first quarter.
But the Pistons gradually chipped away at their deficit and took their first lead (70-69) on Brandon Jennings' three-pointer with 8 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter. They held the lead for good and eventually won by 10 points.
Thad Young led the Sixers with 22 points. Spencer Hawes added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
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