But­ler, 76ers rally with­out Em­biid, sur­prise Pis­tons

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Noah Trister

DETROIT >> The Philadel­phia 76ers gave their stand­out cen­ter a night off, fell be­hind by 15 points on the road — and then came back to beat the Detroit Pis­tons any­way.

“This was our best win of the year un­der those cir­cum­stances,” coach Brett Brown said.

Jimmy But­ler scored 38 points, and the 76ers over­came Joel Em­biid’s ab­sence Fri­day night, ral­ly­ing from a siz­able third-quar­ter deficit to beat the Pis­tons 117-111. Blake Grif­fin had 31 points and 12 re­bounds for Detroit, but the Pis­tons squan­dered their 15-point third-quar­ter lead, as well as a six­point ad­van­tage in the fourth.

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 Fri­day, but it was Philadel­phia’s 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 Philadel­phia de­fended the rim im­pres­sively.

“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 Philadel­phia 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 Philadel­phia 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. “... 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.”

BIG GAME

Mike Mus­cala scored 18 points for Philadel­phia and played key min­utes af­ter Amir John­son fouled out. Mus­cala had three of the 76ers’ 12 blocks.

“I thought de­fen­sively, at the end of the game, those last four or five min­utes, I thought he was ex­cel­lent,” Brown said. “We needed it all and his ver­sa­til­ity, where he can take Drum­mond away from the bas­ket and make those perime­ter shots.”

TIP-INS

76ERS >> Redick and Ben Sim­mons had 18 points apiece.

UP NEXT

76ERS >> Host Detroit on Mon­day

PAUL SANCYA — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Detroit’s Blake Grif­fin (23) is fouled by the Six­ers’ Mike Mus­cala (31) as Landry Shamet (1) reaches in Fri­day.

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