Pacers 97, Pistons 82
Big Win Marred by Ugly Brawl
|SETTING THE PACE
Another double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Did a little of everything with 13 points, eight assists and a career-high eight steals.
|LEADING THE PISTONS
Scored 20 points with five rebounds.
"Our guys tried to show a lot of restraint. There were things being thrown at them ... I felt like I was fighting for my life out there."
The Pacers begin a four-game home-stand on Saturday night against the resurgent Magic. With Grant Hill back in action, the dynamic Steve Francis in the backcourt and top pick Dwight Howard up front, Orlando looks like a threat to compete for playoff spot.
Points in the paint:
Pistons 32, Pacers 26
Pacers 18, Pistons 4
Pacers 85, Pistons 69
Pistons 13, Pacers 12
|STAT OF THE GAME
In 11 games against the Pacers the past two seasons (including playoffs) Billups has gone 34-of-124 from the field (.274) and 10-of-44 from the 3-point line (.227).
Recap | Box Score
On the cusp of their biggest victory of the season, the Pacers may have suffered a major loss. In the closing seconds of a solid 97-82 victory over the rival Pistons, a brawl broke out that spread into the stands and likely will lead to suspensions for All-Star forward Ron Artest and others on both teams.
Pistons center Ben Wallace, upset that Artest fouled him from behind on a dunk attempt in the final minute, walked up to the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, shoved him in the face, then stalked him to the sidelines. The Pacers closed ranks around the retreating Artest, who appeared to be willing to ride out the incident lying on the scorer's table. But when fans got involved, dousing Artest with beverages and hitting him in the chest with a full cup, he bolted into the stands and engaged several fans before he could be restrained.
The scene devolved from there as fans and players, including Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, became entangled as the Pacers were showered with cups, bottles, food and even a chair. The game was called before time expired and the building was cleared.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Pacers have won three in a row and improved to 7-2 overall, 4-1 at home. They've won five of the last six regular-season meetings with Detroit. The defending champions dropped to 4-4 overall.
The Pacers were dominant in the first half, closing the first quarter with a 20-10 run and opening the second by going 15-2. Put it all together and the 35-12 run that spanned nearly 12 minutes pushed the Pacers into a 49-29 lead with 6:55 left in the half. Detroit missed 12 of its first 14 shots in the second period and trailed by 16 at halftime (59-43).
The Pistons made a quick 9-2 move to start the second half, cutting the lead to 61-52 but the Pacers cut that rally short, then got two big plays from Jamaal Tinsley in the closing seconds. Tinsley first beat the shot-clock buzzer with a 3-pointer then stole the ball from Richard Hamilton, who was setting up for the last shot of the quarter, and went the distance for a layup that pushed the lead to 80-66 heading into the fourth quarter.
Hamilton and Lindsey Hunter hit consecutive 3-pointers and Rasheed Wallace converted a three-point play as the Pistons scored nine in a row quickly in the early moments of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to five. But Austin Croshere and Stephen Jackson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Jackson dunked on a give-and-go with O'Neal to push the lead to 93-79 with 3:52 remaining and the Pistons were done.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Artest led the Pacers in scoring with 24 points, 17 in the first quarter. He was 6-of-9 in the opening period but went 1-of-10 thereafter. Jermaine O'Neal scored 20 with 13 rebounds. Though he was 5-of-14 from the field, he made 10-of-14 from the line. Croshere scored 15 with six rebounds and three steals. Tinsley had 13 points, eight assists and a career-high eight steals. Jackson scored 13, seven in the final 5 minutes. The Pacers shot .414 and committed just 12 turnovers.
Hamilton led the Pistons with 20 points but was 6-of-15 from the floor. Rasheed Wallace had 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Ben Wallace had 13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Chauncey Billups scored 13 with seven rebounds and five assists. The Pistons shot .392 for the game and were 4-of-16 from the 3-point line. They outrebounded the Pacers 42-37.
For the second game in a row, center Scot Pollard was unable to play after participating in the morning shootaround due to back pain. It now appears Pollard will sit out Saturday night's game with Orlando, as well, and try to return next week.
Jonathan Bender was not in uniform and apparently won't be for a while. The forward experienced swelling in his right knee after playing 11 minutes against Atlanta on Wednesday night and, as a result, will be out indefinitely.
Artest's streak of consecutive free throws made ended at 26 early in the second quarter.
The Pistons made a roster move before the game, activating guard Smush Parker and placing Carlos Delfino (bruised knee) on the injured list.