AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Austin Daye and the Detroit Pistons took advantage of an unexpected reprieve. Daye made a tying 3-pointer from the corner with 3.5 seconds left in regulation — after Philadelphia’s Lou Williams missed two free throws at the other end — and the Pistons went on to beat the 76ers 112-109 in overtime Saturday night.
“The play actually wasn’t for me to start off and then (coach John Kuester) changed it around,” Daye said. “I got a great screen and as soon as I let it go, I knew it was going in.”
Daye’s shot came moments after the Pistons wasted a chance to tie the game. Down by three, Charlie Villanueva rushed a 3-pointer that missed everything, but Williams missed a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining, giving the Pistons another chance. Daye caught Tracy McGrady’s inbounds pass and made the tying shot.
Williams entered the game shooting 82 percent from the free throw line.
“I told him those free throws did not lose the game,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “He’s one of my best players. I want him to understand that as long as he plays for me, those plays did not lose the game for us. They still had to hit a 3 to get the game into overtime.”
Even in regulation, Williams had a chance to redeem himself, but after Daye’s 3-pointer, he missed a contested shot from the left wing that could have won it. Daye then started overtime with a 3-pointer and a dunk.
“I thought Austin played with a lot of poise,” Kuester said. “A lot of it deals with the momentum of the game, and who has their legs in the flow of the game, and that’s why we stayed with those guys down the stretch.”
The 76ers nearly rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 20 seconds of overtime, pulling within one on 3-pointers by Evan Turner and Jodie Meeks. After Rodney Stuckey made two free throws for Detroit with 6.6 seconds left, Meeks tried a wild, off-balance shot that was well guarded. The shot bounced off the rim.
Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points for the Pistons, and rookie Greg Monroe added a career-high 16 points along with 13 rebounds.
Turner scored 19 points for Philadelphia, one of seven 76ers — including four reserves — in double figures. Elton Brand had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday contributed 15 points and 12 assists.
The 76ers are in playoff contention after bouncing back from a 3-13 start and were sharp early on against Detroit. Philadelphia led 34-30 after shooting 74 percent from the field in the first quarter.
The Pistons clamped down a little more after that, and the 76ers finished the game at 48 percent. Detroit also had 15 offensive rebounds, five by Monroe.
“It means a lot that the coach trusts me enough to have me on the floor in overtime,” Monroe said. “I’m trying to learn from every game, every possession and every practice.”
With the Pistons trailing 92-90 in the fourth quarter, Ben Wallace missed a wild shot inside and then was called for a technical foul for showing his frustration. Williams made the free throw with 2:05 remaining, but the 76ers couldn’t extend the lead beyond three.
Brand made a big play with the shot clock running down, drifting to his right and making a shot from near the free throw line with 12.4 seconds remaining. After Villanueva’s miss, the 76ers simply needed to make their free throws to put away the game, but Williams was unable.
“All for one and one for all,” Turner said. “We’re all one unit. No one’s sitting in the corner saying, ‘He blew the game.”‘
Notes: Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala (tendinitis) missed his seventh straight game. … Philadelphia associate head coach Michael Curry was Detroit’s coach two seasons ago. He also played for the Pistons for six seasons. … Kuester said before the game he doesn’t think the Pistons’ sale has been too much of a distraction for his players. Reports on Friday said Platinum Equity chairman Tom Gores has a 30-day exclusive window to buy the team. “The checks come in, the plane shows up and we get per diem, so I think they’re happy,” Kuester said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)