Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Rodney Stuckey equaled a season-best with 29 points and drained the go-ahead jumper with under two minutes remaining, as Detroit closed out its year with a 104-100 win over the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers.
Greg Monroe chipped in 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Pistons (30-52), who missed the postseason for a second consecutive year. Tayshaun Prince tallied 14 points in the win, Detroit's fourth in five games to conclude the season.
"I know we've won four of the last five and guys played hard," Pistons coach John Kuester said. "I'm proud of them. It's pretty neat when you can say you won your last game and all. That's important. I just wish we were in the playoffs."
Jrue Holiday scored 21 to go with seven assists for the Sixers, who are seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference and will open the playoffs in Miami on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (et). The Heat, with their big three ofLeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, claimed the Southeast Division title and swept the Sixers in three games this season.
Philadelphia captured its third playoff berth in four years under first-year head coach Doug Collins, but lost five of its final six games. The Sixers (41-41) also lost a chance to secure their first season above .500 since going 43-39 in 2004-05. The team did by improve by 14 wins over last season, however.
The Sixers didn't play the final two games with Andre Iguodala (right knee tendinitis), and Lou Williams continues to be sidelined with a strained right hamstring.
"Those injuries put a damper on what we did this year," Collins said.
Holiday had 12 of his points in the final quarter, a period in which the Sixers rallied from a nine-point deficit. Evan Turner's jumper with 5:09 left tied the game at 95, and then Holiday's bucket gave the Sixers the lead. That capped a 16-5 run, but the Pistons had an answer.
Ben Gordon hit a step-back jump shot with 3:17 to go, and after a Spencer Hawes offensive foul, Stuckey made the go-ahead shot from the left baseline with 1:49 remaining.
The Pistons were fortunate after misses by Turner and Hawes. Austin Daye then drove the lane and his floater over Hawes provided a 101-97 cushion with 31.1 seconds left.
The Sixers eventually closed within 102-100 on a Holiday three-pointer with under 12 seconds left, but Stuckey made a foul shot. Jason Kapono then missed a potential tying three-ball from the right corner, and Monroe's free throw with 0.4 seconds left sealed the outcome.
The Pistons shot 61 percent in the first quarter to hold a 29-24 lead, but the Sixers came back in the second courtesy of Thaddeus Young's 11 points to grab a 56-52 edge at the break.
Despite trailing at the half, the Pistons committed four personal fouls in the first 24 minutes, tying a record at the Wells Fargo Center for any half.
The Sixers tanked in the third, going 5-of-21 from the field to trail 83-77 going to the fourth.
Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva was suspended five games without pay for initiating an on-court altercation with Cleveland Cavaliers center Ryan Hollins. The incident occurred with 5:47 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Pistons' 110-101 loss to the Cavaliers at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Monday. The remaining games of the suspension will be served during the first four 2011-12 regular season games in which he is physically able to play...Detroit won the season series, 2-1. The Sixers haven't won a season series against the Pistons since 2000-01. Detroit has won eight of its last 11 contests in south Philly...Andres Nocioni and Turner each scored 18 for the Sixers.
The 76ers were the lucky ones to pull LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the best-of-seven first round series, as they will represent the Eastern Conference's seventh seed against the No. 2 Heat.
Philadelphia captured its third playoff berth in four years under first-year head coach Doug Collins, but has dropped four of five games, including Monday's 95-85 loss to Orlando. After Jrue Holiday gave the Sixers a short- lived 54-52 lead, Orlando went on a 21-4 run to take the lead for good. Elton Brand paced the Sixers with 22 points, while Holiday added 15 to go with 11 assists in the loss.
Collins' squad was outrebounded by a 56-31 margin and watched the Magic drain 11 of their 25 three-point attempts. Philly native Jameer Nelson hit 5-of-8 from beyond the arc for Orlando.
"Rebounding and three-point shooting, that was the killer," Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. "They were just more aggressive than us."
Andres Nocioni had 13 points off the bench for the 76ers, who are 1-2 on a season ending four-game homestand and 26-14 in the City of Brotherly Love. Sixers guard/forward Andre Iguodala missed the Magic game with right knee tendinitis and is questionable versus the Pistons.
Detroit is out of the playoffs for the first time since the 2000-01 season -- a stretch of eight straight appearances -- and had a three-game winning streak stopped with Monday's 110-101 home loss versus the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rodney Stuckey poured in 29 points and handed out 14 assists, while Chris Wilcox finished with 16 points for the Pistons, who have dropped five of eight games and shot 51.4 percent for the game. Richard Hamilton ended with 13 points and rookie Greg Monroe added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The story of the game was a skirmish between Detroit forward Charlie Villanueva and Cleveland center Ryan Hollins. With 5:47 to play in the fourth, Villanueva and Hollins got together and traded words. A few headlocks were exchanged before the two players were broken up.
Things got a bit interesting after both players were ejected. Villanueva started to run off the court and tried to make his way toward Hollins, who was standing near the Cavs' bench. Villanueva was restrained and escorted to the locker room, while Hollins was taken to the locker room a few minutes later. Police officers were sent to the locker room area to prevent any further activity.
"You just don't want it to escalate like that," Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson said. "There were a lot of expletives exchanged that I don't think I can repeat, but that stuff happens when your competitive nature kicks in and you just hope it doesn't go as far as it did."
It's unlikely Villanueva will be in tonight's lineup. The Pistons are only 8-32 away from The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The 2010-11 series between Detroit and Philadelphia is tied at a game apiece, while the Pistons have won four of the past six matchups between the teams.
Detroit has won seven of its last 10 contests in south Philly.