Tracy McGrady and Benched Pistons Teammates Laugh After Coach John Kuester Gets Ejected in Loss to 76ers

Tracy McGrady and Benched Pistons Teammates Laugh After Coach John Kuester Gets Ejected in Loss to 76ers PHILADELPHIA  The 76ers finally got even.

Elton Brand had 20 points and 17 rebounds, and the hard-charging Philadelphia 76ers reached .500 for the first time this season in a 110-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Led by a resurgent Brand, the Sixers have rebounded from a 3-13 start to get to 29-29. Coach Doug Collins had already in his first season led the Sixers to more wins than they had a year ago. The Sixers have won 12 of 16 and are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference - with the sixth-place Knicks in sight.

"This is a great night for our team and our fans," Collins said.

It was a clunker of a day for the Pistons.

Detroit used six players in the latest embarrassment for the fallen franchise. Several Pistons skipped at least part of Friday's shootaround and sat out their third straight loss.

Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady, Ben Wallace and Rodney Stuckey did not start. Coach John Kuester wasn't around for the finish - he was ejected in the second quarter after he was whistled for two quick technical fouls arguing a non-call.

Kuester called the personnel situation "an internal matter" and there was no word if the DNP'ers would be available for Saturday's home game against Utah.

"The guys at the shootaround were going to get the minutes," Kuester said. "I thought they played their hearts out. They tried so hard. I was proud of them."

The short-handed Pistons trailed by nine late in the third until Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday hit consecutive 3s that carried the Sixers into a dominant finish.

Andre Iguodala had 21 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds for the Sixers. Thaddeus Young shot 12 of 15 and scored 24.

Iguodala put the exclamation point on. 500 with back-to-back, fast-break dunks that wowed the crowd and sealed the win. Iguodala has tempered his desire to play as Philadelphia's No. 1 scoring option and has put up some of the best all-around numbers of his career since November.

He has the Sixers in prime position to grab a winning record Sunday at Cleveland. The Sixers have not finished above .500 since the 2004-05 season. They went 41-41 two years ago.

The Sixers believed so strongly in their developing nucleus, team president Rod Thorn balked at making a move by Thursday's trade deadline.

Brand scored 10 points in the third quarter. When Spencer Hawes missed a dunk off a perfect pass from Iguodala, Brand was there for the put-back.

The Sixers are 26-16 over their last 42 games and have the ninth-best winning percentage in the NBA since Nov. 27.

The Pistons mercifully want this season over.

"I feel badly for John Kuester," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I think it's a black eye for the league. I know Detroit is in disarray right now at some level. You worry about a coach and, you know, his psyche after something like that happens."

Team spokesman Cletus Lewis said Richard Hamilton, Chris Wilcox, Stuckey and Austin Daye missed the bus for shootaround, with Stuckey and Daye able to arrive late.

Prince, McGrady and Wallace also missed the shootaround. Lewis said Prince had an upset stomach, McGrady had a headache and Wallace was tending to an unspecified family matter.

Told it was suggested the Pistons had other motives for skipping shootaround, Kuester said, "Sometimes perception is different than reality."

Tracy McGrady and Benched Pistons Teammates Laugh After Coach John Kuester Gets Ejected in Loss to 76ers

Kuester was tossed in the second quarter - while McGrady and his teammates laughed as their coach headed toward the locker room.

The Pistons are far removed from the days when Hamilton, Prince and Wallace led the Pistons to the 2004 NBA title.

Will Bynum led the Pistons with 29 points, Charlie Villanueva had 17, and Ben Gordon and Greg Monroe each had 16.

Bynum played 48 minutes, Gordon 45 and Monroe 43.

"I sat and got DNP's for a month and a half, you think I was turning down 48 minutes? I ain't crazy," Bynum said.

For three quarters, the Pistons kept close on the strength of 52 percent shooting. They didn't have the fresh legs to keep up with a Sixers team that dunked their way toward easy buckets and a 100-87 lead in the fourth quarter.

Notes: The Sixers are 19-9 at home. Sixers G Evan Turner said he'll work with Philadelphia University coach and shooting guru Herb Magee in the offseason. Turner want to get more arc on his usual flat jumper. The Pistons are the first team to use six players since Golden State Nov. 24, 2009, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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