AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The 76ers haven't always played well this season, but even in defeat on many occasions, they have shown plenty of fight.
In the last six quarters they haven't shown that same spirit and now they could be down to their final four quarters of the year.
Coach Maurice Cheeks insisted after Tuesday's 98-81 loss to the Detroit Pistons that put his team down 3 games to 2 in the best-of-seven series, that there is plenty of fight left in his team.
If only they could give an indication of it on the court. The Sixers were outscored 58-37 in the second half of Sunday's 93-84 loss. And on Tuesday they were outplayed the entire game (even though they outscored the Pistons in the second and fourth quarters).
The Sixers could never rebound from the opening body blow delivered by the Pistons during a 35-21 first quarter.
That's not to say the Sixers didn't play hard. It's just that they were extremely unproductive. And they seemed demoralized.
Then again when the Pistons are into it, they are still a very impressive team. This is the same Pistons team that looked on the elderly side in losing Game 3, 95-75. That game seems like a long time ago.
The Pistons appear to be refocused and one has to question whether the Sixers have any answers when all five of Detroit's starters are on the same page.
Even with Andre Iguodala having his first solid game of the series, the Sixers will be in trouble if none of the other starters plays well, which is what happened in Game 5.
Samuel Dalembert, who has had one exceptional game in an otherwise disappinting series, was thoroughly outplayed by Rasheed Wallace (who had 19 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots).
Andre Miller picked an inopportune time to have his worst game of the series. The only other Sixer besides Iguodala who performed well was Lou Williams (16 points).
The Sixers have no choice but to put this game behind them and based on their performance, it shouldn't be too hard to do.
Still. one has to wonder how much confidence the Sixers have at this point and whether they have it in them to come back once again when virtually everybody thinks they may stay down for good.