AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Detroit Pistons didn't win a basketball game last night.
They did, however, accomplish the one thing they wanted to do: They stayed healthy.
In a game that saw little-used reserve Amir Johnson lead the team in minutes, the Pistons lost a lackluster 102-91 decision to the 76ers.
Pistons coach Flip Saunders said he would have preferred a better performance, but readily acknowledged that, with a week to go before the playoffs, avoiding injuries is the only real issue. "That's right," he said.
The game was played on fan appreciation night at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but Detroit native Willie Green was the one who put on a show for the crowd. The Sixers guard scored 26 points and added seven assists and five rebounds.
"I really like coming home and playing in front of my hometown fans," said Green, who attended Detroit Cooley High and the University of Detroit. "I had about 50 people here - family, friends and church."
The game was meaningless for both teams - Detroit has clinched the Eastern Conference's top seed while the Sixers were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday - and it showed.
"I'm very proud of our guys to go out and play a game that doesn't have a whole lot of meaning," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Our young guys went out there and played it the right way."
The 76ers were missing several regulars, as Kyle Korver (wrist), Andre Iguodala (back) and Kevin Ollie (eye) stayed home. The Pistons gave their key players a light workload.
Chris Webber was the only Pistons starter to play more than 23 minutes, while the 19-year-old Johnson had 12 points and a career-best 10 rebounds in just his sixth game of the season.
Johnson blocked six Philadelphia shots but also missed 9 of 12 shots and committed five fouls. On one possession, he had two shots blocked by Samuel Dalembert in five seconds.
"Amir's still got a ways to go," Saunders said. "During one time-out, Chauncey [Billups] hit him on the top of the head and reminded him that this isn't the [developmental league]. He can't just launch shots over everyone in this league."
Steven Hunter finished with 16 points and eight boards for the Sixers, and Andre Miller had 12 points and nine assists.
"It was fun - all the guys came out and played really loose," Hunter said. "Everyone is trying to work on their game and get better for next season."
Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 15 points, but the next five players in Detroit's usual rotation combined for only 24 points.