JERMAINE O'NEAL
Returned with a bang from a three-game absence with 26 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
RICK CARLISLE
"We couldn't have won the game without (O'Neal), that's for sure … He was pretty light on his feet considering it's been a full week since he's played. He was steady, and it was key to have him back against Detroit because they're really a terrific team."
Points in the Paint:
Pacers 38, Pistons 30
Fast-break points:
Pistons 12, Pacers 10
2nd-chance points:
Pacers 15, Pistons 13
Points off turnovers:
Pistons 12, Pacers 6
Starters scoring:
Pacers 81, Pistons 71
Bench scoring:
Pacers 20, Pistons 19
The Pacers scored at least 100 points against the Pistons for the first time in 25 games, a streak that dates back to April 16, 2000.
The homestand continues as red-hot big man Eddy Curry and the New York Knicks come to Conseco Fieldhouse for a Friday night meeting (7:00, FSN-Indiana).
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  • INDIANA 101, DETROIT 90
    Pacers Put It All Together For Pistons

    By Conrad Brunner | Dec. 13, 2006


    They have had moments, runs, dominant quarters and halves but the Pacers hadn't put together a complete game this season. They did so in impressive fashion against Detroit, riding a variety of strong performances highlighted by Jermaine O'Neal's 12-point fourth quarter to a very solid 101-90 defeat of the Pistons Wednesday night before 15,817 in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    O'Neal, who finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds in his first game back after missing three with an injured left hamstring, scored 12 in a row as the Pacers took an 87-82 lead and stretched it to 99-88 to put the visitors away.

    The Pacers won their fifth consecutive home game to improve to 12-12 overall, 7-2 at Conseco Fieldhouse, where they've beaten the two best teams in the Eastern Conference (including Orlando last Wednesday) by double-figures margins. The Pistons had won two in a row and 10 of 12 coming in, but dropped to 13-8 overall, 7-5 on the road.


    PLUSES

    O'Neal did what a franchise player is supposed to do, put the team on his back down the stretch. He has often struggled against old friend and nemesis Rasheed Wallace in the past but broke through that wall, perhaps for good. He was 8-of-17 from the floor, hit all 10 of his free throws, adding two assists, two steals and a block so his 26 points and 14 rebounds. Jamaal Tinsley played another superior all-around game with 21 points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals. Al Harrington started hot but then battled foul trouble, winding up with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Stephen Jackson returned from his one-game suspension to score 14 points with a pair of blocked shots and provide solid defense on Richard Hamilton. Danny Granger scored 13 off the bench, seven in the fourth quarter. Jeff Foster pulled 10 rebounds and Sarunas Jasikevicius continued his emergence as a key player in important moments and led the team with six assists.

    The Pacers shot well (.474) and recovered from a poor first half on the boards to outrebounded Detroit 41-40. The Pistons had 11 offensive rebounds and 11 second-chance points in the first half but just two more of each in the second. The defense limited the jump-shooting Pistons to .390 shooting, including an uncharacteristic 6-of-19 night from Hamilton.


    MINUSES
    Chauncey Billups was his usual problematic self but was never able to take over the game, even for a stretch, though he finished with 22 points and five assists. Billups scored 10 of his points from the line. Hamilton needed 19 shots for 18 points but contributed seven rebounds and five assists. Wallace scored 14 with six rebounds and two blocks and Tayshaun Prince had a quiet 11-point, five-rebound night.
    MOMENTS
    The Pacers put together a 21-9 run in the second quarter to build a 49-36 lead but the Pistons finished the half with a 13-5 counter to cut it to 54-49 at the break. The Pacers were hurt by a replay ruling that waved off a buzzer-beating halfcourt 3-pointer by Darrell Armstrong, but the call was correct. The Pistons hung around into the third period but Tinsley and Jackson sparked an 11-4 run that pushed it to 74-61.

    Billups and Wallace closed the period with consecutive 3-pointers to make it 76-71 entering the fourth and the Pistons put together a nine-point surge to close to 83-80 with 8:12 remaining. But the Pacers dug in and withstood the assault nicely as O'Neal took care of the offense, contributing a pair of three-point plays in his personal 12-point binge, while the defense allowed just three baskets in the next seven minutes.


    TIDBITS
  • David Harrison was unavailable to play due to both the effects of a virus that swept through the team earlier in the week and a re-injured left shoulder. Harrison will undergo an MRI exam Thursday.
  • Fresh off his 13-point debut in Chicago Monday night, Shawne Williams played just under eight minutes but did not score in his followup.
  • The Pacers evened their record at 3-3 when they lead after one period and improved to 5-2 when elading at the half.