Even though he was saddled with four fouls, Holiday scored 12 points in the fourth quarter.
"He got guys into the flow of the game and then, when he thought it was time for him to take over the game, he just went at it," teammate Thaddeus Young said. Young finished with 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting. He said that when Holiday plays aggressively, as he did in the second half, the Sixers benefit.
"Personally, I always want to see him and Evan be aggressive," Young said of Evan Turner, who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. "When they are aggressive, I can be aggressive. And when they are aggressive, other guys get aggressive."
Holiday was at his aggressive best late in the game, when the Sixers needed him to be just that.
In a tight contest, Holiday's 19-foot pull-up jumper over Rodney Stuckey with 39 seconds to play pretty much put the game on ice.
Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight led Detroit (7-16) with 22 points apiece.
"I was so happy with Jrue," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "Coming down the stretch we put him in pick-and-roll and he made all the right decisions."
Right before hitting that jumper, Holiday missed a pair of free throws. That might have been the by-product of the Sixers simply not getting to the foul line. The Sixers, who made 53.7 percent of their field goals, were just 12 of 23 from the line. Detroit, which shot 39.5 percent from the floor, was 28 for 33 from the line.
"That's what the game is all about," Collins said. "Play on from your mistakes."
The game was the first meeting between the teams since the Pistons ended their eight-game losing streak at the start of the season by beating the Sixers, 94-76, on Nov. 14.
Spencer Hawes, who added 15 points and eight rebounds, said the Sixers gave some thought to that.
"Yeah, we talked about it," Hawes said. "We don't want to dwell on it but at the same time you have to channel it the right way."
Contact John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.