Both the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers had nothing to play for today aside from pride, and every player who saw the floor gave it everything they had. In the end, prevailed 118-106.
The Pistons rested Cade Cunningham and limited Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart to 13 first-half minutes before sitting for the rest of the night and Killian Hayes played just 10 minutes. That meant that there were plenty of minutes for young Detroit players, and they all had their moments.
The Pistons were led by Luka Garza, who led the Pistons in minutes (30), points (20) and rebounds (10). Isaiah Livers also showed out, scoring 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting in 23 minutes. He was joined in double figures by Frank Jackson (10), Isaiah Stewart (10), Luka Garza (13), Braxton Key (12) and Saben Lee (11). On the night, eight Pistons played at least 20 minutes.
Philadelphia might be led by superstars Joel Embiid and James Harden, who both sat in the team’s season finale, but the Sixers have young players too, and they delivered the victory for Philly.
Tyrese Maxey scored 23 points in 25 minutes and got to the rim at will against Detroit’s porous defense. Shake Milton also enforced his will with a game-high 30 points and four assists.
Little-used reserve center Paul Reed might have been even more impressive. The only thing that could slow Reed down Sunday was his own foul trouble.
Reed scored 25 points on 12-of-14 shooting and was able to twist his body and finesse the ball into conversions at the rim all night. Somewhere John Hollinger, basketball writer, former executive and Paul Reed truther if there ever was one, was smiling. In the final moments of the game the crowd was still buzzing and chanting “B-ball Paul.”
The loss means the Pistons finish with the league’s third-worst record and a tie for the best odds in the NBA Draft lottery alongside the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic.
Because the Boston Celtics were able to easily dispatch the Memphis Grizzlies, the win meant nothing for Philadelphia. The Sixers will play Toronto in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
For Detroit, the season is over. Next up is the NBA Draft Lottery on May 17. The NBA Draft is June 23.