Iguodala helps Sixers squeeze past PistonsMar 13, 2008 - 4:10 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - Not even the return of Rasheed Wallace could slow down the surging Philadelphia 76ers.
Andre Iguodala scored 22 points and Rodney Carney came off the bench to score 16 as the Sixers beat the Detroit Pistons, 83-82, for their 13th win in the last 17 games.
Detroit led 67-66 going into the fourth quarter, but the lead changed hands twice before Philadelphia went ahead for good on a pair of free throws by Iguodala to make it 74-73 with 7:09 left.
The Pistons went nearly three minutes without a point after Jason Maxiell's dunk put them in front 73-70 with eight minutes remaining.
Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups each hit a pair of free throws to bring Detroit within one at 83-82 with 28 seconds remaining.
76ers coach Maurice Cheeks was weary of Billups and Hamilton catching fire at the end. The Detroit guards combined for 24 points, well below their average of nearly 36.0 per game.
"Rip and Chauncey can get it going," Cheeks said. "We played pretty good defense, but normally they make those shots. Fortunately, they didn't."
Iguodala's missed jumper with five seconds left gave the Pistons one last chance to pull out the win, but Billups' shot at the buzzer hit the rim and bounced away.
"It's a big win," Iguodala said. "It's on the road, we didn't shoot the ball well down the stretch, but we pulled it out because we got some stops. That's what made it big."
Iguodala said that Wednesday's victory had its roots in Philadelphia's loss to Boston on Monday.
"It was good to play Boston before Detroit," he said. "It was a set-up game because they play similar styles. I thought we did a better job in our half-court offense than we did against Boston."
Wallace scored 17 points in his return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a sprained left ankle.
While Detroit played at full strength, however, it was a different story for Philadelphia as Willie Green (lower back) missed the game and Andre Miller (abdominal strain) left late in the fourth.
"That shows how we've matured during the season," Iguodala said. "During the timeouts, there was no panic. We just talked about playing hard and getting stops and we did a pretty good job of shutting them down."
"That was a heck of a win for us," Cheeks said. "Andre Miller goes out and different guys stepped up and played. We talked at the shootaround and came to realize how important (the game) was and we came away with the win."
The Pistons trailed, 48-42, at intermission, but tied the game at 50-50 with 9:39 left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Wallace. A putback by Antonio McDyess with 7:12 left in the quarter gave Detroit its first lead since it was 7-6 in the first.
Iguodala shined in the first half, pouring in 14 points as Philadelphia held a 41-29 advantage midway through the second quarter - its biggest lead of the half - before Detroit closed the gap at the break.
Billups finished with 15 points and McDyess had 14 and 11 rebounds for the Pistons (46-18), whose lead for the second seed in the East was trimmed to five games by Orlando (42-24).
"It was an ugly game, no energy," Billups said. "Anytime, we are playing a game where we have as many turnovers as assists, you have no continuity. I can't say why, but it made the game ugly, and we failed to step up and make the plays to win it."
DETROIT 82 FINAL
Mar 12 10:06 PM
DETROIT 67 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 12 9:25 PM
DETROIT 42 HALFTIME
Mar 12 8:41 PM
DETROIT 18 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 12 8:09 PM
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