Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (52-23) vs Pistons (27-47)
Scott Agness | Updated: April 1, 2014, 2:20 p.m.
April couldn’t come soon enough for the Pacers. After a rough month — which saw the Pacers win just eight of 18 games — Indiana has just seven regular-season games remaining, with only three at home.
The Pacers and the Detroit Pistons get together Wednesday night for the final time this season. Last time they were in town, Detroit put an end to Indiana’s 11-0 start at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Detroit is one of the few teams in The Association that can match Indiana’s frontcourt size. They are fourth in rebounding (first on the offensive end), and score more points in the paint (52.1) than any other team. But because of early struggles, a 21-29 record, the Pistons canned head coach Maurice Cheeks. Assistant John Loyer took over and despite a lot of athleticism and talent, they will miss the playoffs and are bound for the lottery.
The Pistons play a brutal April schedule to conclude what has already been a troubling season. They are on the road for six of their last eight games, with all but two games against playoff-contending teams.
Meanwhile, the Pacers are fighting a number of different issues. First and foremost, their offense has faded. They averaged a league-worst 89.2 points per game in March, more than three points below the next team. In five of the last six games, they failed to crack 80 points after doing so in all but one of their first 69 games.
This team, which has shot below 38 percent in a franchise-record six straight games, just needs to see the ball go through the hoop. George Hill and David West saw their shooting percentages each drop more than 10 percent over the last month and the Pacers’ inside game has struggled.
Inside the locker room, it’s back to square one. Guys need to get back on the same page and play for one another like they did so well in the first months of the season as they ran out to a 33-7 start.
For the first time this season, the Pacers are not atop the Eastern Conference standings. As they’ve lost three straight games and five of six, the Miami Heat have pulled in front by percentage points (.699 to .693). Indiana’s mistakes and troubles are all correctable but time is limited. The regular season concludes in just 15 short days.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (out, sore right knee), C.J. Watson (out, right hamstring strain)
Pistons: Chauncey Billups (out, left knee surgery), Josh Harrellson (out, knee)
“I think some guys are struggling to find a little bit of a rhythm. Part of that may be confidence but … team’s go in and out of being in a good rhythm. It happens to every team every year. You just have to work everyday and find it.” – Frank Vogel
“I don't know. Coach is scratching his head. We've been meeting and talking. We've just got to figure it out. I don't know what we do. We practice, we work, we shoot, we talk about our adjustments. If our defense wasn't what it was, we'd be losing these games by 40 or 50 points.” –David West on what’s gone awry
“We're probably the most downtrodden 50-plus win team in the history of the game.” – David West
“We're thinking too much. We have to take the shots that we normally take. We have to stop worrying about messing up or getting a turnover and just play hard.” – Lance Stephenson
“Everybody has to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out what they can do to make it better.” – George Hill
- Indiana’s 101-96 loss to Detroit on Dec. 16 snapped the team’s 10-game home win streak over the Pistons.
- Paul George is averaging 26 points and shooting 49 percent in three games against the Pistons this season.
March 15: The Pacers gave up 60 first-half points and got themselves in a 25-point hole but rallied back to beat the Pistons in Detroit, 112-104 in OT. After a lifeless first 24 minutes, the Pacers got their act together following a stern talking to from the typically calm Frank Vogel. They then began the comeback with eight straight points to open the third quarter. The extra session was dominated by the Pacers, who moved to 4-0 in overtime games. The Pacers committed just 10 turnovers, three coming over the final 29 minutes and none in overtime.
Six Pacers had 12 or more points, with Paul George finishing with 30. Evan Turner added 20 points in 30 minutes and Andrew Bynum, who made just his second appearance with the team, contributed 15 points and nine rebounds. Detroit’s Josh Smith finished with 23.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Limited seats remain for this exciting matchup. Find Tickets »