The Pacers roll into Detroit riding high. Indiana (14-7) has won six of its last seven games and can secure a winning record on its five-game road trip with a victory on Friday night over the Pistons (8-14).
But to accomplish that goal, the Blue & Gold will have to deal with a Pistons team that has already beaten them twice so far this season.
Balanced scoring has powered Indiana's offense in recent games. All five starters have scored in double figures in each of the Pacers' past three victories and seven players scored 10 or more points in their last two wins. Indiana has the NBA's fifth-best offense since Nov. 18, averaging an impressive 114.8 points per 100 possessions.
On the other end, the Pacers have held their opponents to just 104.6 points per 100 possessions over the same span, the seventh-best defensive rating over that time.
Thanks to a scheduling quirk, Friday's game will be the last meeting of the season between Central Division rivals Indiana and Detroit. The two teams played three times in the first two weeks of the regular season, with the Pistons taking the first two meetings before the Pacers prevailed on Nov. 8 in Indianapolis.
The Pacers' main focus on Friday will be slowing down Detroit's frontcourt.
Pistons center Andre Drummond has won the NBA's rebounding title for two straight seasons and leads the league again this year, pulling down 16.8 rebounds per contest. Drummond has recorded a double-double in all three games against Indiana this season, including a monster 32-point, 23-rebound performance on Opening Night on Oct. 23.
For the first time this season, the Pacers will also have to deal with Pistons forward Blake Griffin. The six-time All-Star missed the start of the season with knee and hamstring soreness before making his season debut on Nov. 11. Griffin's scoring and shooting percentages are down through his first 10 games, from a career-best 24.5 points on 46.2 percent shooting last season to just 18.8 points on 41.5 percent shooting this year.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Jeremy Lamb, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Pistons: PG - Bruce Brown, SG - Luke Kennard, SF - Tony Snell, PF - Blake Griffin, C - Andre Drummond
Pacers: Edmond Sumner - available (right hand fracture), JaKarr Sampson - doubtful (sore back), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab)
Pistons: Reggie Jackson - out (lumbar stress reaction), Khyri Thomas - out (right foot surgery)
November 8, 2019: The Pacers finally got the better of the Pistons in their third meeting of the season, prevailing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 112-106.
Domantas Sabonis had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists in the win, while T.J. Warren and T.J. McConnell each also scored 17 points.
"It's our third time playing against them," Sabonis said. "If we didn't get it right tonight, I don't know...we're professionals and we have to go out and do what the coaches say, and I think today we did exactly what the plan was."
Pistons guard Luke Kennard had a game-high 29 points in the loss, while Andre Drummond tallied 15 points, 13 boards, and eight assists.
- The Pacers have dropped four of their last five games in Detroit.
- With a win on Friday, Detroit would win the season series with Indiana for the second time in three years. Prior to the 2017-18 season, the Pistons had not won the season series with the Pacers since 2007-08.
- Pistons forward Tony Snell is a former teammate of both Doug McDermott, whom he played with in Chicago from 2014-16, and Malcolm Brogdon, who was teammates with Snell in Milwaukee from 2016-19.
After a five-game road trip, the Pacers will return home to host Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)