The young Pacers' struggles continued on Wednesday night in Detroit, as Indiana (5-7) dropped its fourth consecutive contest, a 114-97 loss to the Pistons (8-3) on the second night of a back-to-back.
Just as they did in New York on Sunday and against New Orleans on Tuesday, the Pacers took a double-digit lead in the first half on Wednesday, only to watch it disappear.
"They made some plays, and once again, we didn't get the stops that we needed," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. "It looked like we were a little fatigued tonight, and just didn’t have enough tonight."
Al Jefferson came in off the bench and gave the Pacers a major spark in the early going. The 14-year veteran scored seven straight points to spark a 12-3 Indiana run to close the first quarter, giving Indiana a 30-22 lead.
Indiana led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but the Pistons rallied, retaking the lead with a 10-2 run late in the frame. All told, Detroit racked up 37 points in the quarter to take a 59-52 lead into halftime.
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The Pacers fought back to tie the game at 65 midway through the third quarter before the hosts reeled off 13 unanswered points to open up what was then their largest lead of the night.
Jefferson helped Indiana remain within striking distance, scoring six points over the final minutes of the period to help trim the deficit to seven, but Detroit opened the fourth quarter with another 8-0 run.
The Pacers weren't able to climb back within single digits until Bojan Bogdanovic's free throw made it a nine-point game with 4:24 to play.
Cory Joseph's jumper with 3:44 remaining made it 99-92, but Tobias Harris answered on the other end, burying his fifth 3-pointer of the night, effectively thwarting the Pacers' final charge of the evening.
Victor Oladipo led the Blue & Gold with 21 points on the night, but went just 8-for-21 from the field and committed six turnovers. Jefferson finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Thaddeus Young added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Bogdanovic had 12 points and seven boards. Joseph was the fifth and final Pacers player in double figures, tallying 11 points and six assists off the bench.
Harris led all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds. Reggie Jackson added 18 points and six assists, while Andre Drummond controlled the glass with 14 points and 21 rebounds.
The Pacers will head to Chicago for another Central Division showdown on Friday night — their first meeting of the season with the Bulls — before returning to Indianapolis to host the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
"I think our guys just want to get a win and want to win," Oladiop said. "It sucks that we haven't won in a while, but it's a part of the game and it's a part of the NBA. How teams respond separates the good teams from the great teams and we've got to figure out what kind of team we want to be."
Inside the Numbers
Jefferson's 19 points were five more than his previous season high and his most since he scored 20 in back-to-back contests at Sacramento and the Lakers on Jan. 18-20, 2017.
Pacers starting center Myles Turner battled foul trouble for much of the night, playing just 25 minutes and finishing with a season-low eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and six rebounds.
Joseph matched his season high with six assists.
Detroit finished the night with a .518 field goal percentage, the best shooting night by a Pacers opponent so far this season.
Harris entered Wednesday shooting 45.9 percent from 3-point range and improved his percentage on Wednesday, going 5-for-9 from beyond the arc.
All nine Pacers players who participated in Wednesday's game had a negative plus-minus. Oladipo was -20 and Bogdanovic was -17.
You Can Quote Me On That
"Myles got in foul trouble and Al stepped in. Ike (Anigbogu) was available and ready if we had to go to that matchup. Al came in, in the third quarter and gave us some pretty good minutes. It's really next man up in that situation." -McMillan
"I'm not sure, I've got look at the film, but they made shots down the stretch. They got some good looks—especially off of our turnovers and little stuff like that, so we’ve got to do a better job." -Oladipo on what went wrong in the second quarter
"It was kind of a game of runs. We got on a run, they would run it a little bit, but we were able to bounce back and just continue to put the ball in the hoop and get some stops when we needed it. Overall it was a good win for us." -Harris
"Our game plan was to make their looks hard, really bring the pressure early in the start of the game; which I thought we did a pretty good job of after the first quarter, but he was able to get some good buckets. He's a good player, really good in transition and shooting the three ball really well. I thought Avery and the guys that were on him did a pretty good job on him." -Harris on guarding Oladipo
"I think offensively we played pretty well for most of the night and I think defensively, especially in the second and fourth, we were really good defensively. So we did enough to get by." -Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy
Stat of the Night
The Pistons outscored Indiana 56-36 in the paint on Wednesday.
- Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis missed his second straight game with a right calf contusion.
- Indiana is now 1-3 on the season when playing on the second half of a back-to-back.
- The Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak against the Pacers on Wednesday. Indiana had won eight of the past nine meetings between the Central Division rivals.
The Pacers and Bulls will renew their rivalry for the first time this season on Friday, Nov. 10 in Chicago at 8:00 PM ET.
After a two-game road trip, the Pacers will return home to host James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 6:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »