Pacers at Pistons

Game Preview: Pacers at Pistons

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Little Caesars Arena Game Preview presented by DraftKings


After falling to the New York Knicks after a poor shooting night, the Blue & Gold (6-9) are packing their bags and headed to Detroit to take on a rebuilding Pistons (3-10) team for the first time this season.

Although their record leaves much to be desired, the Pistons have the weapons to put up a fight against Indiana. Over the past week, the squad has played a tick better, splitting its last four games. On Nov. 13, they picked up a solid 127-121 win over the Toronto Raptors, a team that the Pacers have struggled against this season.

If Chris Duarte's shoulder is good to go, this matchup could feature two high-profile rookies looking to make a statement for their teams. The Pistons selected former Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Currently, Cunningham ranks third on the team in scoring (13.4 points per game) but is shooting just 34.8 percent from the field, although this could be the product of not having a good enough support group around him at this time. He has been asked to take quite a number of shots for the team in his first go-around.

Despite the team's woes as a whole, it appears as if Jerami Grant is off to another solid start for Detroit this year. The 6-8 power forward leads Detroit in scoring (17.9 points per game) and field goal attempts (15.1) and has a similar playing style to other forwards that have given the Pacers struggles this year so far.

Another stat to keep an eye on will be bench scoring. Detroit is second in the league in bench scoring, getting an impressive 40.5 points per game from its reserves. Meanwhile, Indiana ranks 22nd, recording only 30.9 points per contest. Against the Knicks, the Pacers' bench tallied just 13 points. Kelan Martin had six of those to lead the way. Indiana's bench may need to step up Wednesday night if they wish to pull out the win.

Nonetheless, a contest against a rebuilding Pistons team could provide the Pacers with a much-needed refresher after facing several top teams to start their season. The Blue & Gold's veteran-heavy roster can prevail over a Detroit squad that features nine players with three years or fewer of NBA experience.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Pistons: PG - Killian Hayes, SG - Cade Cunningham, SF - Saddiq Bey, PF - Jerami Grant, C - Isaiah Stewart

Injury Report

Pacers: Chris Duarte - questionable (sore right shoulder), Isaiah Jackson - out (G League assignment), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Pistons: Isaiah Livers - out (return to competition reconditioning), Kelly Olynyk – out (left knee sprain)

Last Meeting

April 24, 2021: Despite the absences of Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and Goga Bitadze, the Pacers muscled out a 115-109 victory against the Pistons at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Trailing 101-97 with 4:41 left in the fourth, the Blue & Gold used a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. Without the help of its big men, Indiana switched to a 2-3 zone defense that gave Detroit troubles down the stretch.

Three Pacers finished with 20 points or more. Malcolm Brogdon recorded a game-high 26 points and hauled in eight rebounds. Caris LeVert added 25, while Edmond Sumner tallied 22 on an efficient 9-of-15 shooting. T.J. McConnell came off the bench to record game-highs in assists (13) and steals (5). Jerami Grant had 25 to lead Detroit.

Indiana secured a 10-point edge after the first quarter behind a 17-7 run over the final 4:55 of the frame. The Blue & Gold got help from Oshae Brissett, who notched eight points during the spree. In the second, the Pacers stretched the lead to as many as 15 before Detroit began climbing back. The visitors scored 12 unanswered, mostly from the painted area as the lack of Indiana big men began to show. Just before halftime, the Pistons mounted another run of 12-2 to take a 61-58 advantage into the break.

Although LeVert started the third with nine points in the first four minutes, the Pistons used the paint to extend their lead to eight. Later, Indiana shored up its defense, forcing a 5:02 scoring drought for Detroit. The Blue & Gold used a run of 10 unanswered to bring an 84-82 lead into the fourth.

From there, it was a fight to the finish. Trailing by four with less than five minutes to play, Brogdon, LeVert, and McConnell stepped up to regain a 104-101 lead with 3:41 to play. From there, Indiana had the momentum to keep the Pistons at bay and seal the win.


  • Indiana has won three straight games against Detroit and four of the last five.
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle's first head-coaching job was with the Detroit Pistons. Over two seasons, he earned a 100-64 record and an appearance in the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Indiana forward Justin Holiday and Detroit center Isaiah Stewart both played college ball at the University of Washington.


The Pacers will return from a three-game road trip to host the New Orleans Pelicans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

by Brendan Rourke Contributor

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