PHILADELPHIA, April 8 (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons got their first extended look at life without Ben Wallace and did not like what they saw.

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The absence of the injured Wallace left the Pistons practically defenseless inside in a 91-74 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who got 37 points from Allen Iverson.

Wallace, the NBA leader in rebounds and blocks per game and the 2002 Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a sprained left MCL late in the first half of Sunday's loss to San Antonio. Although an MRI revealed no tear, he is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

That does not bode well for the Pistons, who relinquished the top spot in the Eastern Conference with Sunday's loss. The 6-9 Wallace's ability to dominate the defensive backboard is a big reason why Detroit is challenging for its second straight Central Division title.

With Wallace on the sidelines, the 76ers - who are among the NBA leaders in points in the paint - fearlessly attacked the basket. They were led by Iverson, who repeatedly drove inside, creating offense for himself and his teammates.

"We weren't able to keep them out of the paint and we weren't able to keep them from laying the ball in in the first half and it didn't get much better in the second," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "I like to say that it was all because Ben Wallace wasn't in there but the bottom line is that we got to do a better job of containing the ball both on an individual basis and as a team."

"I'd be lying to you if I said the game wasn't different with him not in there," Iverson said. "Last time we played them, he had like nine blocks and probably eight of them was on me. It is a big difference not having him in there. When he's not blocking shots, he's frustrating guys by making them put the shot a little higher, or shooting it a little harder and just contesting a lot of shots. He's big with offensive and defensive rebounds. It's a totally different team without him."

A team considered a bit on the small side, Philadelphia had 52 points in the paint and outrebounded Detroit, 42-27.

"You give up 52 points in the paint you're not going to win in this league. It's as simple as that," Carlisle said.

"Shot blocking is a huge stat, not only the potential blocks where you make guys pull up and take jump shots. That's a very big part of any team's success. You look at why we were one of the better defensive teams in the league prior to this season because we had shot blocking."

Clifford Robinson scored 16 points and Richard Hamilton added 14 for the Pistons (47-30), who have lost four straight games. Their lead over Indiana remained one game.

"It's going to be tough without your top rebounder and shot blocker," Robinson said. "We got to find a way to keep guys out of the paint. We can't let them to drive by us and expect us to win the game."

Iverson had been playing through bursitis in his left knee but appeared to have much more hop in his step. He made 13-of-23 shots, handed out eight assists and had one steal, breaking Steve Mix's team single-season record of 212.

"It isn't getting any better but it isn't getting any worse," Iverson said. "It has been feeling the same for the last two or three days. It just keeps getting bigger. They talked about draining it today, but I didn't let it happen."

Mix, a 6-7 forward in his day and now an analyst for 76ers' TV broadcasts, shared an embrace with Iverson during a timeout.

"I was joking with him about it before the game," Iverson said. "I wondered how he could he hold a record like that. He wanted me to get it the last game and he congratulated me after the game."

Kenny Thomas had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Sixers (46-31), who snapped a two-game slide. With five games to play, they are two games behind New Jersey atop the Atlantic Division.

Detroit hung around for slightly more than a quarter, trailing 25-22 after one period. But Philadelphia scored 14 points in the paint, a sign of things to come.

In a 9-0 run midway through the second period, Iverson had a layup, a dunk and a pair of assists that led to easy baskets as the Sixers opened a 41-31 lead. Eric Snow's 40-footer at the horn provided a 54-43 halftime advantage.

"You can do whatever what you want to with the tempo," Carlisle said. "But if they're getting in the paint and laying the ball in and dishing it off for dunks, you are not going to have a chance."

After scoring 20 points in the paint in the second period, the Sixers had 12 more in the third. Iverson had two more layups and Thomas a dunk in a 9-2 spurt that opened the second half and widened the bulge to 63-45.

Detroit got no closer than 14 points thereafter.

"Iverson is the quickest guy off the dribble in the league," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "The same problem we had tonight, every other team that faces him has. The one difference was we didn't have Ben back there."

Aaron McKie had 10 points and four steals for Philadelphia. Chauncey Billups had 12 points and 10 assists for Detroit, which shot just 39 percent (25-of-64)