Meeks, Hawes lift Sixers over Pistons, 96-73

Getting over: The Sixers' Elton Brand shoots past Pistons center Greg Monroe in the 96-73 victory over Detroit at the Wells Fargo Center.
Getting over: The Sixers' Elton Brand shoots past Pistons center Greg Monroe in the 96-73 victory over Detroit at the Wells Fargo Center. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 07, 2012

Through five games, Jodie Meeks was the one 76er who had gotten into a game but really hadn't made his presence felt.

Can't say that anymore.

Meeks, who before Friday's home opener had made just 9 of 29 shots from the field, caught fire and scored 17 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Sixers christened the home portion of their season with a 96-73 romp over the Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center.

The last team to play a home game this season, the Sixers faced a Detroit team that was without its starting backcourt of Rodney Stuckey (groin) and Ben Gordon (family matters), yet they were unable to put the pesky Pistons away until Meeks asserted himself.

"I told our guys before the game that basketball is an amazing game. You can go from the depths of despair as a player and in two minutes be back on top of your game," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "Jodie Meeks was unbelievable tonight. He's really struggled for us early this year, and to see him do what he did tonight was so gratifying because he's such a huge part of what we do."

Meeks' role is to sink jumpers and spread the floor, which is the main reason he is in the starting lineup. However, he hadn't been doing much of that before Friday, when he did it in abundance and when his team needed it the most.

Meeks was 6 for 7 from the floor in the fourth quarter, and he was 4 for 5 from behind the three-point line. He single-handedly matched the entire Pistons' roster in the fourth quarter, when the visitors scored 17 points, and the Pistons needed 10 more shots than Meeks for their tally.

Greg Monroe led Detroit with 22 points and seven rebounds. The Sixers limited the Pistons to just 36.0 percent shooting (31 for 86).

While he struggled to get in sync this season, Meeks never got down on himself.

"I don't know if it's a confidence thing; it's more of a rhythm thing," said Meeks, who finished the game 7 for 13 from the floor.

At one point during Meeks' roll late in the game, a fan told him to keep shooting the ball. Meeks smiled and did just that.

"When I'm open, I'm going to shoot it. Shooters shoot, they don't think," Meeks said. "But most importantly we got the win. We had a real nice crowd out there, so I was glad we were able to win in front of them. I just wanted to get into a rhythm. Everyone hates going through those times. I'm a player with a lot of confidence."

He is also a player with some teammates who have been playing well. Spencer Hawes continued to play at an all-star level, finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds - his fifth double-double in six games - and he blocked a pair of shots for good measure.

At one point during the game, Hawes, who was booed at times here, had the crowd of 19,408 chanting his name.

Lou Williams came off the bench to score 16 points, and Thaddeus Young scored 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He also grabbed seven rebounds, one less than Evan Turner, who also added eight points.

The Sixers managed to get the win despite scoring a combined nine points on a 3-for-13 shooting night by starters Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala. Jrue Holiday also struggled, making just 2 of 9 from the floor and finishing with five points and nine assists.

This didn't prevent Brand from grinning ear-to-ear after the Sixers won their home opener.

"We have a tenacious schedule; the schedule is rough," Brand said. "It's good to get the first one at home. We knew we could do it."


Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com or @deepsixer3 on Twitter.

 


 

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