The Pistons still have the second-best record in the East, trailing only Boston, but entered trying to avoid their first four-game skid since 2004-05. They've dominated this series the last few years but could never really put away a Sixers team that has only eight wins at home.
"They just do the things that they need to do to win the game," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I think they make the shots toward the end and they defend when they need to defend."
Green scored 16 points, Andre Iguodala had 15 and Lou Williams 13 for the slumping Sixers. Philadelphia has lost 10 of 12 and what few fans turned out left in droves in the fourth.
"They definitely need some help," Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "I guess it's all on management now and what they're going to do."
The Pistons were outrebounded 47-33 and went only 6-for-21 from the floor in the fourth, allowing the Sixers a bit of hope they could hang with one of the elite teams in the East.
Neither team scored in the first two minutes of the fourth until Williams made a free throw that sliced the deficit to 70-64.
The Pistons missed six straight shots to open the fourth and scored only four points over the first eight minutes.
The Sixers couldn't take advantage, with Iguodala missing wide open looks on a pair of jumpers that could have jolted them right back into a rather lethargic game.
Wallace, held to seven points, finally provided the Pistons with a dose of offense with two free throws and then a 3-pointer that opened the game up and made it 79-67.
"It's not all about shooting," Wallace said. "Anybody can get a shot at any time. It's just team ball."
Green answered with his own 3 and Williams nailed a fadeaway that pulled the Sixers within seven with 3:54 left. But that was about all the scoring for either team.
"They were in the game, they were definitely in the game," Billups said. "Most times, we're going to execute and do what's right down the stretch. Whether we make the shots or not, we're going to execute. We did that."
The Pistons have shown over the last few years that they could easily beat the Sixers. A convincing win over the rebuilding Sixers might have been exactly what they needed to get back to playing like the team that ripped off an 11-game winning streak earlier this year. Instead, the Pistons led 50-41 at halftime and only took a seven-point lead into the fourth.
"We've got to find a way to finish games," Iguodala said. "We've got to get stops. They just played a great game."
Left-hander J.C. Romero, outfielder Shane Victorino and NL MVP Jimmy Rollins of the NL East champion Phillies were honored at the game. Rollins and Iguodala swapped jerseys before the game and Rollins won a halftime shootout between the three Phillies. Rollins, who called the Phillies the team to beat last year and predicted 100 wins this season, enjoys the target that comes with being the defending champs. "I don't see it being any more on us than it was last year," he said. "If we're the front-runners, that's fine with me."