Pacers at Pistons

Game Recap: Pistons 97, Pacers 89

The Pistons defeated the Pacers, 97-89. Cade Cunningham recorded 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Pistons, while Jerami Grant added a team-high 19 points in the victory. Malcolm Brogd

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Game Recap: Pistons 97, Pacers 89

The Pistons defeated the Pacers, 97-89. Cade Cunningham recorded 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Pistons, while Jerami Grant added a team-high 19 points in the victory. Malcolm Brogd
Nov 17, 2021  |  00:01

Pacers Postgame: Nov. 17, 2021

Nov. 17, 2021 - Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, Caris LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon, and Torrey Craig speak with the media following Indiana's 97-89 loss to the Pistons in Detroit.
Nov 17, 2021  |  21:38

LeVert 3

Nov 17, 2021  |  00:06

Craig & McConnell Baskets

Nov 17, 2021  |  00:10

LeVert 3

Nov 17, 2021  |  00:10

Brogdon Again

Nov 17, 2021  |  00:10

Brogdon 3

Nov 17, 2021  |  00:13

Holiday 3

Nov 17, 2021  |  00:09
by Brendan Rourke Contributor

Game Rewind: Pacers 89, Pistons 97

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Little Caesars Arena

Game Recap

After falling to the Knicks on Monday, the Pacers had hopes of rebounding against a rebuilding Detroit Pistons team on
Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.

However, the tale on Wednesday echoed Monday's story. Indiana (6-10) found themselves in a close game and led by six in the early moments of the fourth. Their defense was solid nearly all night. However, the offense sputtered down the stretch. The Blue & Gold were held to just 10 points over the final 8:53 of the game as Detroit (4-10) took home a 97-89 victory. It was mostly a struggle all-around against a young, fast, and physical Pistons squad. And head coach Rick Carlisle did not sugarcoat it during his postgame press conference.

"Playing like we did tonight is a losing recipe for NBA basketball," Carlisle said.

Indiana finished 33-of-79 (41.8 percent) from the field and 9-of-37 (24.3 percent) from deep. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 20 but went 8-of-17 from the floor. Caris LeVert added 18 — all in the second half after starting 0-for-5. Domantas Sabonis tallied a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double. But they could not pull off the win down the stretch.

"We weren't as physical as Detroit tonight," Brogdon said. "That was the problem. But we have to be better."

While it was not the hottest of starts, Indiana did earn an early 8-4 lead using physical play in the paint over the first four minutes. Sabonis started the game 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, while Brogdon muscled in a layup around Killian Hayes.

However, Detroit began mounting a charge over the middle portions of the period. A 10-3 run from the hosts, including four from the 2021 first-overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, pushed the Pistons ahead 14-11 and forced a Pacers timeout with 4:40 remaining.

The Blue & Gold’s shooting woes continued late into the quarter, with the squad misfiring on four possessions out of the timeout. Trailing 16-11, Brogdon finally ended the drought, drilling a three from the top of the key to bring Indiana to within two. The bucket started a 7-2 run that propelled Indiana in front, 19-18 with 35.3 seconds remaining. However, a late 3-pointer from Frank Jackson pushed Detroit ahead, 24-21, before time expired.

The Pistons' lead stretched to 34-25 after former Pacer Cory Joseph tallied seven early second-quarter points. On offense, everyone but Brogdon appeared to struggle from the floor. On one possession around the 8:30 mark, T.J. McConnell found a wide-open Sabonis for an easy put-in. But, Sabonis pushed his shot long.

Indiana finally found some offensive rhythm midway through the frame. Trailing 36-27, the squad mounted an 11-3 run, including five from Jeremy Lamb, to cut the gap to one with 4:47 to play. It was a welcomed sight for Lamb, who had been struggling as of late. A three from Myles Turner at the 3:40 mark finally knotted the score at 41 apiece.

However, the rhythm was short-lived. Indiana succumbed to several misfires and miscues, leading to an 8-0 Pistons run to finish out the half. The squad hopes to rebound after the break.

Early in the third, the defense had trouble defending Detroit's drivers. Using shots all within 12 feet of the rim, the hosts pushed the lead to 57-46 with 8:55 remaining.

But, LeVert fought to keep Indiana close. After coming up empty in the first half, the guard made the first 12 Pacers points of the frame. His 26-foot triple from the right side cut the deficit to 57-53 at the 7:46 mark.

"I think I just saw one go in, and then tried to be aggressive," LeVert said of his run.

LeVert's energy then sparked Sabonis for a spell. Using second chance efforts and his physicality, the big man notched the next six points for the Blue & Gold to tie the game at 59 with 5:37 remaining in the third.

The Pacers grabbed their first lead since 8-6 in the first period on Brogdon's third trey of the night — a deep 30-footer from straightaway center — with 4:00 left. The bucket started an 8-1 run that eventually pushed Indiana's lead to 69-64.

Eight straight from Saddiq Bey pushed Detroit ahead for a split second until T.J. McConnell executed his patented inbounds steal-and-finish to give Indiana a 73-72 lead with 49.7 seconds remaining. Although, Bey added a single free throw before the buzzer to bring a 73-all tie into the fourth.

Indiana started hot in the fourth, knocking in six straight all from running layups. Torrey Craig, usually known more for his defense, used his physicality to muscle in two of them.

But Detroit fought back once again, using back-to-back and-one finishes to trim the gap to 81-80 with 8:38 remaining.

The score remained stagnant for the next 2:00 as both teams went cold. Sabonis earned two trips to the line in an attempt to stretch the lead further but made just 1-of-4 chances. The Pistons then tallied five straight, including a three from Joseph, to take an 85-82 edge with 5:47 remaining.

With Indiana trailing 90-85 and 2:40 to go, LeVert drained a three from the right side to cut the deficit to two. Grant responded with two free throws to stretch it back to four. The Pacers then had three opportunities to trim the lead once again but came up empty each time.

Grant then added a pull-up jumper to stretch the Pistons' lead to 94-88 with 1:00 to play. After an Indiana timeout, Sabonis lost the ball out of bounds on their next possession. Isaiah Stewart then sealed the deal at the charity stripe, handing the Pacers their second consecutive loss of this three-game road trip.

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers made just 14 field goals in the first half. They made 13 in the third quarter alone.

Indiana dished out only 14 assists on Wednesday, one shy of its season-low.

Torrey Craig (10 points) finished in double figures for the third time this season — his first since Nov. 3 against the New York Knicks.

The Pacers' bench was outscored 36-28.

You Can Quote Me On That

"When you lose, you have got to do everything better. The truth is when you win, you look at the film, and there are a lot of things you can do better there as well. But winning is a great deodorant for these kinds of challenges, flaws, whatever they are. So we just have to bring up our competitiveness as a group." –Carlisle on the lack of energy in these past two games

"It was clear the turnovers were killing us. They were converting on them. We knew going into the game we needed to take care of the ball, but we didn't. That hurt us tonight." –Brogdon on the game

"It's definitely leading by example. I think I have to amp it up for sure — energy, intensity. But we have to do it for all four quarters." –Brogdon on how to fix the lack of energy from these past two games

Stat of the Night

The Pacers surrendered 18 turnovers for 20 points while forcing just 13 for 12 points.


  • Kelan Martin earned his first start tonight as a member of the Pacers and played solid defense against Detroit's top forward, Jerami Grant.
  • Chris Duarte missed his second consecutive game with right shoulder soreness.
  • Myles Turner has tallied a block in every game he’s played in this season.

Up Next

The Pacers wrap up a three-game road trip in Charlotte against LaMelo Ball and the Hornets on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 PM ET.


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 »


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