The worst start in franchise history was over.
Greg Monroe had 19 points, 18 rebounds and six assists to help the Pistons beat the Philadelphia 76ers 94-76 on Wednesday night.
Kyle Singler scored 16 points in his first start of the season, and Tayshaun Prince and Brandon Knight each scored 15 points for the Pistons, who improved to a still-woeful 1-8. But they will take it.
"We're disappointed in our start, but it wasn't like we had any doubt we were going to win a game," coach Lawrence Frank said. "When we deserve to win, we'll win."
Gobbling rebounds with each Sixers miss, the Pistons deserved this one. Playing their seventh road game out of nine games this season, the Pistons controlled the lethargic Sixers from the opening tip. Four Pistons starters scored in double digits and forward Jason Maxiell had eight points and 12 rebounds.
"We felt like, as a team, this was long overdue," Monroe said.
The Pistons played so well they didn't even need both eyes on the ball from the free-throw line. Late in the second quarter, Monroe was fouled on a drive down the lane and had a contact shuffled around in the process. He touched his right eye, squinted, and buried the first shot. With his contact back in place, he clanked the second attempt. The moment was good for a chuckle in a game that turned into a laugher.
"My contact was just acting a little funny," Monroe said, laughing.
Monroe had a small shiner but blamed a hit from Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant in Monday's game.
The Sixers easily played their worst game of the season, making only 25 of 84 shots, for 30 percent. Lavoy Allen led them with 14 points, and Jrue Holiday had 12.
"When you see somebody beating up on you, you're supposed to hit back," Holiday said. "We didn't have that today. After a while, when we tried to, everything was going their way."
Without injured center Andrew Bynum, the Sixers continued to get dominated inside. They were outrebounded by 17 in Monday's loss to Milwaukee and got crushed on the boards 33-15 by halftime in this one. Monroe had nine at the break—or as many as the Sixers' starting lineup combined.
Philadelphia missed 30 of 43 shots in the first half and made only 5 of 10 free throws.
The few thousand fans that showed up made for a dreary preseason atmosphere and they all booed the Sixers off the court at the break.
Kwame Brown started at center after missing four games because of a strained left calf, picked up two quick fouls, and played only 8 minutes in the first half.
The Pistons had plenty of room to maneuver in the paint—Singler scored 13, Prince had 12, and Monroe added 11 points in the first half.
Detroit had most of its fun in the second quarter, stretching a two-point lead into 52-34 at the break. The Pistons made only three 3-pointers all game, scoring the bulk of their points on mid-range jumpers, and easy buckets around the basket.
The Sixers again struggled with their halfcourt offense, showing little ball movement and firing up long jumpers as the shot clock ticked down. Bynum hasn't played all season because of a bone bruise and isn't expected back until at least early January. It's clear they need help in the middle because the Brown-Spencer Hawes-Thaddeus Young combination has been a bust.
"It's not the end of the world," Hawes said. "We're going to get it right. We're going to get it back on track."
The Pistons led by as many as 23 points and had their way with the Sixers in the paint (42-28), on the fastbreak (17-11) and, most impressively, the glass, outrebounding the Sixers 57-38. The Pistons beat them 45-27 on defensive rebounds, just the kind of performance that will win a few more games.
"It shows what we're capable of doing," Frank said. "It's got to be a standard of how we play."
NOTES: 76ers F Dorell Wright briefly left the game and needed eight stitches on his chin. ... Frank started 0-16 with the New Jersey Nets in 2009 and was fired. ... The Pistons had never started worse than 0-7 before this season. ... On the plus side, the Sixers made only four turnovers. They had averaged 15.4. ... Dating to last season, the Sixers have lost seven of eight at home.