Pistons 108, 76ers 86
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — While the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers rested a handful of their regulars, the Detroit Pistons’ season finale was a tale of two Bens.
Reserve guard Ben Gordon poured in 26 points, including eight 3-pointers, as the Pistons cruised to a 108-86 victory over the 76ers at The Palace on Thursday night. Center Ben Wallace, playing perhaps the final game of his career, added seven points and 12 rebounds.
Philadelphia’s loss, which snapped a four-game losing streak, ensured that it will be the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Sixers will play a best-of-seven series against top-seeded Chicago, beginning Saturday.
The Sixers led the Atlantic Division a majority of the season but faltered after a 20-9 start and finished with a 35-31 record. Detroit wound up 25-41, though it had a .500 record after a 4-20 start.
Guard Rodney Stuckey added 13 points for the Pistons, while forward Charlie Villanueva chipped in 11.
Center Spencer Hawes led the Sixers with 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Detroit took over midway through the first quarter and led by as much as 28 while preventing Philadelphia from sweeping the four-game season series.
The Pistons tied the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a quarter with 11 in the second as they rolled to a 65-43 lead.
Taking advantage of the Sixers’ depleted ranks, Gordon came off the bench at the beginning of the quarter and erupted for seven 3-pointers in 6 1/2 minutes. Villanueva also made three 3-pointers during the quarter as Detroit scored a season high for points before halftime. Cleveland made 11 3-pointers in a quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 31, 2010, and Milwaukee also had 11 3-pointers in a quarter against Phoenix on March 28, 2006.
With its playoff opener just two days away, Philadelphia sat three starters — forwards Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand and guard Jrue Holiday — and its top two reserves, leading scorer Louis Williams and third-leading scorer Thaddeus Young. The Sixers’ revamped lineup included second-year forward Craig Brackins, who made his first career start.
Wallace made his first start since Jan. 31. Wallace, a 16-year veteran and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to retire at the end of the season. In honor of their elder statesman, every Pistons player wore a blue headband like the one Wallace typically wears. During the first television timeout, highlights of Wallace’s career were shown on the scoreboard, and he received a standing ovation from fans and players on both teams.
The Sixers lost to Miami in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, 4-1.
NOTES: Iguodala, Brand and Young did not travel with the team to Milwaukee Wednesday but rejoined their teammates Thursday night, so they could fly together to their playoff destination. … The Sixers lost to Miami in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, 4-1. … The Pistons finished below .500 for the fourth consecutive season after making the Eastern Conference finals six consecutive years. “I think we better make the playoffs,” owner Tom Gores said of his goal for next season…. Greg Monroe is the fifth Detroit player since the 1994-95 season to have at least 1,000 points and 600 rebounds, joining Grant Hill, Otis Thorpe, Rasheed Wallace and the late Bison Dele.