Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 101, Pistons 94
Scott Agness | April 2, 2014
The Pacers got back to their winning ways Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, visiting Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the final time this season. Indiana (53-23) snapped its three-game skid by shooting 49 percent, tallying 24 assists, and holding the Pistons (28-48) to 37 percent shooting in a 101-94 victory before the 26th sellout crowd of the season.
Unlike games in recent weeks, the Pacers came out loose and with smiles on their faces — a likely result of a meeting between the starters held the day before, an off day for the team coming off two consecutive games. Their demeanor appeared much improved and their energy was contagious.
Still, the Pistons, who’ve lost all but one of their last 16 road contests, struck first. Their frontline of Josh Smith and Greg Monroe combined for 21 of their first 23 points. But after falling behind by nine, the Pacers ended the first period on a 12-2 run and took their first lead since a minute into the contest at 28-27.
The “fun” the team so desired finally returned midway through the second stanza — with Lance Stephenson, providing the initial burst of energy with an emphatic driving dunk. He helped the Pacers run off 10 straight points, assisting on two possessions. The Pacers held the Pistons to 19 points on 28 percent shooting in the second quarter, put 50 first-half points on the board, and were ahead by four heading into the locker room.
Indiana’s offensive execution carried into the second half, perfectly illustrated by a play where Lance Stephenson understood he wasn’t getting anywhere with his dribble. He picked it up, tossed it into the post to Roy Hibbert, who backed his man down before finding a cutting George Hill for a layup.
Highlight: PG from 40 feet »
The Pistons, however, jumped back in front by closing the period on a 12-4 run and outscoring the Pacers by five.
But the Pacers rallied once again to lead for much of the final period. Luis Scola scored the go-ahead basket on a rebound putback with 9:19 remaining. The Pistons threatened numerous times, but this time it was the Pacers who closed the game out by controlling the glass, scoring 13 second-chance points in the final period.
After feeling good about their play in the past two games, tonight the Pacers saw their shots go through the hoop, converting 49 percent of their attempts. They dug in on defense, and despite giving up 17 offensive boards, they got the stops necessary to come out on top. Paul George, who led all scorers with 27 points, has put a greater emphasis into facilitating as teams are playing him tighter, but he also attacked when he could.
The movement, passing, and individual efforts were much improved, but it’s going to take more than one win for the Pacers to completely rediscover their previous form. Their next opportunity comes Friday in Toronto.
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers finished with six players in double figures. Indiana improved to 13-2 this season when all five starters score 10 or more points.
Paul George was happy to face the Pistons again. He finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds ,and seven assists — his best effort since playing Detroit on March 15.
David West was 7-for-10 from the floor for 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and two rejections. Ian Mahinmi was effective in 19 minutes off the bench, reaching double figures for the fourth time this season (10 points), grabbing five rebounds, and blocking three shots.
Detroit also had six guys finish in double digits. Josh Smith led the Pistons with 24 points and Rodney Stuckey added 16 off the bench. Andre Drummond (13 points and 14 rebounds) registered his 50th double-double of the year. Greg Monroe (17 points and 16 rebounds) also had double-double.
After not reaching 85 points in six straight games, the Pacers topped 100 for the first time in 10 games (last doing so in a 112-104 overtime win in Detroit).
The Pacers limited the Pistons, the NBA's top scoring team in the paint, to 36 points in the paint and outscored Detroit there 18-8 in the second half.
“We took a step in the right direction. We know it’s not going to just snap back into place when you’re out of rhythm the way we’ve been the last couple of weeks. It was definitely a positive step on the offensive end with how we shared the basketball and took care of the basketball.” – Frank Vogel
“He really changed the game. We came out playing hard but still a little bit unconfident and missing some shots and trying to grind through the rhythm and the timing. … That burst in the second quarter was a big part of the win.” – Frank Vogel on Lance Stephenson leading a 10-0 run
“We’ve been watching film and we definitely didn’t look like the team we was in the beginning of the season. We just wanted to get back to that. I watch all the old games and watch all the highlights of everybody and just tried to get everybody involved and having fun winning games.” – Lance Stephenson on the team playing loose
“A couple nights ago, we would’ve lost this game. This is the most we felt together. Everybody was positive, everybody was on the same page. If someone messed a play up, we were able to constructively criticize what’s going on and guys took it well. How we started the year off is how we felt tonight.” – Paul George
“Everybody was moving the ball. Everybody was getting involved and that energized people. We were trying to get out on the break, make passes to each other and not do it all ourselves. It feels good. It was definitely a better atmosphere in the locker room and in the huddles. One game is good but we’ve got to try to string a couple more together.” – Roy Hibbert
Stat of the Game
Indiana recorded 24 assists on 39 field goals — their highest total since Feb. 1. The Pacers improved their record to 35-4 when dishing at least 20 assists.
- The Pacers have won eight of the last nine meetings against the Pistons, including three this season to tie the all-time series at 87.
- Roy Hibbert hit his head hard on a flagrant-1 foul by Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva near the end of the first quarter. Hibbert went back to the locker room and passed the concussion test for the second time in a week.
- Evan Turner received a technical foul in the second quarter.
- The Pacers coaching staff and broadcasters wore special lapel pins to support Autism Awareness and the Light It Up Blue campaign.
The Pacers visit the Toronto to take on the Raptors on Friday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Game Preview »