Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Samuel Dalembert posted 22 points and 16 rebounds as the Sixers routed the Pistons Friday.
Philadelphia 95, Detroit 75
PHILADELPHIA, April 25 (AP) -- The 76ers fans tossed confetti in the air and celebrated a series lead they could have never believed the home team would hold.
The Sixers added one more surprise victory in a season stuffed with them. The win wasn't the shocker - it was the way Philadelphia completely thrashed the playoff-tested Detroit Pistons in Game 3 that was the stunner.
Andre Miller was spot on with his mid-range jumper and scored 21 points, and the rest of the Sixers ran all over the court in a dominating 95-75 victory Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
Samuel Dalembert had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and the Sixers led by as many as 24 points in their first home playoff game since 2005.
"It didn't look like we had any jitters at all,'' Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
Philadelphia had no reason for nerves from start to finish. The Sixers proved their Game 1 victory was no fluke, doing everything Detroit normally did on the way to five straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals: Hit clutch shots, never lost composure and kept the pressure on all game to never let the Pistons go on a serious run.
"They're not supposed to be where they're at,'' Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "They're up 2-1 against a team nobody thought they could beat. I could understand why they're happy.''
Miller had the best all-around game, but he had plenty of help as three others scored in double figures, including Dalembert's double-double.
The Pistons played nothing like a team that won 59 games in the regular season. Perhaps they took the 76ers lightly or maybe one of the most experienced postseason rosters in the league is finally starting to wear down.
Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and Tayshaun Prince had 18. Without them, the Pistons might have lost by 30. Antonio McDyess - who left in the third quarter with a broken nose - Rasheed Wallace and Billups combined for 15 points.
Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia, when the Pistons could be without McDyess.
The Pistons, who led the league with just 11 turnovers per game, committed 25, easily their season high, and the 76ers jumped all over every costly mistake. They scored 29 points off turnovers and scored 40 points in the paint. Philly scored the easy baskets off lobs and layups that mostly eluded them in Games 1 and 2.
Their fun, fastbreak style of offense was back in full force.
"The reason we were able to get out and run was because everyone was so active on the defensive end,'' Cheeks said.
The 76ers busted the game open in the third quarter, ending it with a 22-9 run that put the game away. Miller did everything he does best in the open court, cutting through the lane for a layup and hitting a pull-up jumper off the break to get the spurt going.
Wallace and Philadelphia's Reggie Evans were hit with double technicals, but it was Wallace who continued to jaw with the refs while the crowd howled in delight. When Prince was called for an offensive foul only seconds later, and when Andre Iguodala's layup gave the Sixers a 14-point lead, the crowd erupted in cheers and the rout was on.
Rodney Stuckey lost the ball on the next possession, giving the Pistons a season-high 19 turnovers.
They missed 16 straight shots spanning the third and fourth quarters until the Pistons were credited with a basket on a goal tend by Dalembert.
Detroit would take anything at that point.
"That did us in,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "I think they forced us to play poorly.''
Rodney Carney opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Dalembert's dunk on an alley-oop pass from Miller gave the 76ers an 82-61 lead, and the Pistons pulled their uninterested starters soon after.
After slow starts in the first two games, including two halftime deficits, Philadelphia opened with the strong start it wanted and scored the game's first six points. Evans made up for some of the production that Iguodala failed to deliver, and the Sixers led 44-40 at halftime.
"They just beat us in every category,'' Billups said. "From the start, they had more energy for whatever reason.''
About the only sore point for the Sixers was another subpar game from Iguodala. The Sixers' regular-season leading scorer had 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting after he scored only four in Game 2.
"It's not about me, it's about us,'' Iguodala said. "I pride myself on not having to score to be an effective player in this league.''
Iguodala wasn't the only starter with scoring trouble. Wallace was held to one basket and two points in the first half and the Pistons were an abysmal 2-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Notes: 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his actions after Game 2. He was cited for verbal abuse of the officials and for not leaving the court and going directly to the locker room at the end of Philadelphia's 105-88 loss. "It's just an error in judgment by me,'' Cheeks said. ... 76ers F Thaddeus Young left the game with a bloody nose. ... McDyess broke his nose after he was hit in the face by Iguodala going for a rebound. He said he might wear a protective shield if he plays in Game 3.