Monday, April 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers vs. Pistons
By Conrad Brunner
Things you didn't expect to see Monday night:
Tyler Hansbrough leading a fast break, dishing to Leandro Barbosa for a three-point play;
Jeff Pendergraph starting at center and putting on his own personal slam-dunk contest;
Kyrylo Fesenko tossing in a sweet jump-hook from the low block;
Roy Hibbert in spectacles.
A patchwork Indiana lineup minus three starters beating the full complement of Detroit Pistons, 101-97, before 13,584 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With the third seed in the East locked up and nothing to gain, or lose, in the final two games, Coach Frank Vogel gave three of his starters the night off and turned the game over to the reserves, but the two starters that did play did their share.
Paul George scored 27, 12 in the fourth quarter, and David West 20 as the Pacers improed to 42-23.
The Pacers led 91-84 with 5:32 remaining but the Pistons rallied and had the chance to take the lead when Greg Monroe stepped to the line for a pair of free throws with 41.7 seconds left but he missed both. Tyler Hansbrough then bailed out the Pacers, battling for an offensive rebound, drawing a foul and making both to make it 99-96 with 26.5 seconds left.
Monroe got another chance at the line but missed one, forcing the Pistons to foul George, who rattled in a pair to make it 101-97 with 19.4 remaining.
BY THE NUMBERS
George scored 13 of his points from the free-throw line, adding 10 rebounds and four assists to his 27 points. West shot 9 of 19 and had five rebounds. Hansbrough had 13 points and eight boards off the bench, while Leandro Barbosa had 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Pendergraph scored 10 with seven rebounds in 18 minutes in his first start in two years.
Monroe led the Pistons with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Brandon Knight scored 16, Tayshaun Prince 14, Charlie Villanueva 13, Austin aye 11 and Jason Maxiell 10.
STAT OF THE GAME
Indiana's lineup of A.J. Price, Paul George, Dahntay Jones, David West and Jeff Pendergraph was just the fourth of the season, the fewest combinations in the league. The Pacers averaged more than 20 lineups in each of the previous four seasons.
After Monroe gave the Pistons a 77-76 lead early in the fourth, George took over, scoring eight points in a 15-7 run -- including a soaring thunder-dunk on a drive down the lane that made it 91-84 with 5:32 left.
The Pacers shot 8-of-26 in the third period but did not surrender the lead. In fact, they pushed to 67-60 midway through the period and were up 76-67 after a Barbosa three-point play, but the Pistons closed the period on an 8-0 run to cut it to 76-75 entering the fourth.
With Pendergraph providing plenty of activity early, scoring six points including a pair of dunks and pulling three rebounds in 10 minutes, the Pacers jumped out to a 21-15 lead but the Pistons went on a 10-2 run and tied it at 26 after one. George and Barbosa hit 3-pointers in a 10-0 Indiana run that put the Pacers in front 40-34 in the second quarter and Indiana did not relinquish it, taking a 54-52 advantage into the break.
Monroe picked up a technical foul with 7:02 left in the third quarter for complaining about a no-call. ... Price and Pendergraph both made their first starts since 2009-10. ... George Hill, who tweaked his left shoulder Saturday against Philadelphia, sat out tonight and may play Wednesday's regular-season finale against Chicago. Danny Granger will sit out both games to rest a sore knee. Roy Hibbert sat tonight and play limited minutes Wednesday. Vogel said West preferred to keep playing in order to keep his rhythm. ... Former starter Darren Collison came off the bench in order to get acclimated to his new role, as well as the group he will play with moving forward that includes Tyler Hansbrough and Lou Amundson.
The Pacers close out the regular season Wednesday against their playoff opponents from last year, the Chicago Bulls, in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). This is the only Indianapolis appearance of the regular season for the Bulls. The Pacers split two meetings in Chicago, winning 95-90 on Jan. 25 to snap the Bulls' 12-game win streak, but falling 92-72 on March 5 as Derrick Rose shook off a two-point first half to take over in the second.