Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ET at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Game Preview: Pacers at Pistons

Scott Agness | November 4, 2013

Matchup

The Pacers are 3-0 and the last undefeated team in the NBA. The streak, however, will be put to the test with four games this week. Beginning on Tuesday in Detroit, the Pacers will play four games in five nights.

Paul George has picked up where he left off last season. He’s fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 25.7 points per game along with 8.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.67 steals per game. The 23-year-old leads the team in all four categories.

Lance Stephenson seems to have taken another big leap as well. Running with the starters and leading the second unit, Stephenson is shooting 60 percent and is second on the team in scoring with 19 points per game. Should he keep this up, he’ll be a leading candidate for Most Improved Player.

George Hill sat out the last game due to a sore left hip. That decision was made primarily to let it rest ahead of this big week and in hopes that it wouldn’t become a nagging injury. Hill participated in much of practice on Monday, but was limited some in his movements and isn’t 100 percent. Hill was ruled out for Tuesday's game in the early afternoon. C.J. Watson will start in his place.

The Pacers, who took the season series against the Pistons last year, will have to deal with additional length. The Pistons had an active offseason, which began with the hiring of Maurice Cheeks as head coach. They signed Josh Smith, formerly with Atlanta, brought back Chauncey Billups and added Josh Harrellson.

The Pistons’ frontline now looks like this: Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond – all over 6-foot-9 and with large wingspans. With so much length at a lot of positions, they are second in the NBA in offensive rebounding. They also acquired Brandon Jennings from Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade deal. Jennings made his debut on Sunday in a win over the Celtics and he turned in 14 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds.

In the draft, they selected Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8), Tony Mitchell (37), and Peyton Siva (56). With the addition of undrafted free agent Luigi Datome, an Italian, Detroit has four rookies on their roster. Piston big man Rasheed Wallace, who was part of their 2004 title team, retired in the offseason and is now on Maurice Cheeks’ coaching staff.

Probable Starters

C.J. Watson

C.J. Watson

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Will Bynum

Will Bynum

Chauncey Billups

Chauncey Billups

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond

Injury Update

Pacers: George Hill (out, sore left hip), Danny Granger (out, strained left calf)
Pistons: Charlie Villanueva (day-to-day, sore shoulder)

Quotable

“They’re huge. They are one of the few teams that can match our size and maybe exceed our size when they play Josh Smith at the ‘3’. [Andre] Drummond is a beast. Greg Monroe is a beast. It’s going to be a physical battle for sure.” – Frank Vogel on the Pistons.

“I thought our defensive rebounding against Cleveland was exceptional and we’re going to need that kind of effort against the Pistons, who are a great rebounding team. I also like what we’re doing in terms of our fouling discipline. It’s only three games but we’re leading the league in fewest fouls per game and a lot of it has to do with our body position and being smart with our discipline – staying down on shot fakes and making a conscious decision to keep teams off the line.” – Frank Vogel on what he’s seen on film

“Whenever you go into four games in five nights, you want to get at least three out of the four. Four out of four would be great. Mental toughness [is important].” – Roy Hibbert

“They’re a very tall, athletic team. … They’re a playoff team. I’m not sure what seed they would be potentially but from what they look like on paper, they definitely are on a playoff team.” – Hibbert on the Pistons

“They’re probably one of the few teams that are bigger than we are so we got our work cut out. Josh Smith at the ‘3’ is a handful with his ability to dominate the game in the post and defensively.” – David West

“We’re starting to get into what the NBA season is all about. We’ve got four in five nights and we really got to take care of business, especially playing against Chicago, Toronto and Brooklyn as well. Not to mention going into to Detroit and playing against a tough team.” – Paul George

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won 14 of the last 15 meetings, including the last five.
  • Pacers center Ian Mahinmi turns 27 on Tuesday.
  • The Pistons have played some zone defense in their three games, so the Pacers worked on executing against a zone at Monday’s practice.

Last Meeting

Feb. 23: Danny Granger made his season debut in Detroit as the Pacers handled the Pistons 90-72 to complete the season sweep. Granger, who was sidelined for the first 55 games due to an ongoing left knee injury, missed his first eight shots and finished 1-for-10 in 18 minutes. The Pacers held the Pistons to 28 points in the first half and beat them for the second straight night.

David West scored 16 points, 12 coming in the third quarter where he scored or assisted on all but nine of the Pacers’ field goals. George Hill was 7-of-10 from the field and scored a game-high 17 points. Paul George added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Will Bynum paced the Pistons with 15 points and his night was over early as he was ejected during the early moments of the fourth quarter after a cheap shot to the chest of Tyler Hansbrough.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: Fox Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/studio host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)

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