The Pacers’ penultimate home game was a night of celebration. The team honored its Director of Media Relations, David Benner, who is completing his 28th and final season in that role. Highlights included a surprise appearance from Hall-of-Fame NBA player Reggie Miller, who conducted his iconic pregame ritual with Benner one last time.
But unfortunately, the team could not pull out the victory for Benner, as the visiting Detroit Pistons rained in a season-high 21 3-pointers to secure a 121-117 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Six Pacers (25-54) finished with double figures in the effort. Three players tallied 19 points, including Buddy Hield and Isaiah Jackson. The third, Tyrese Haliburton, fell one rebound shy of his first career triple-double. The 22-year old guard also tied a career-high with 17 assists – several to Jackson. Oshae Brissett tallied 20 points – 13 in the third quarter – and 10 rebounds to lead the Blue & Gold. Saddiq Bey recorded 31 points and shot 7-of-9 from deep to lead Detroit (23-56).
“Ty had a tremendous game,” praised Rick Carlisle. “I keep talking to our other guys about getting him the ball in transition. Good things will happen.”
“As far as moving it up the floor quickly and selflessly making the pass up the floor, he’s as good as anybody in the game right now.”
The opening minutes belonged to Bey. The Villanova product stretched the floor by making his first four shots from deep. His third triple with 9:32 to play forced a Pacers timeout. He then sank treys four and five to give the Pistons a 17-7 lead.
“We just have to be better,” Haliburton said of another rough start. “(We need) more of a sense of urgency.”
Trailing 20-9, the Pacers scored five straight, including a nice running slam from Haliburton, to cut the gap to six. But Bey drilled another triple at the 6:43 mark with two defenders in his face.
The Blue & Gold fought through the Pistons’ 3-point barrage to cut the gap to four as Hield and Haliburton knocked in back-to-back buckets in the paint. However, Rodney McGruder and Purdue product Carsen Edwards sank threes number nine and 10 to extend the lead to 36-26.
Bey added a finger-roll layup to reach the 20-point mark with 1:32 left. But luckily, Indiana closed the quarter with five straight to trim the deficit to 38-34.
Scoring slowed dramatically in the second, with both sides earning two points over the first 3:11. The Pacers made it a 40-38 ballgame before Braxton Key scored five straight to extend the Pistons’ lead to seven with 8:02 remaining.
As time ticked past the halfway mark, Indiana remained close behind Detroit. Trailing 49-44, Haliburton and Jalen Smith teamed up to produce the highlight of the half. The guard lobbed a pass to a wide-open Smith, who finished with a slam. The alley-oop cut the gap to three with 5:27 left.
The Pacers finally caught up to the Pacers with 2:32 remaining. Hield found Haliburton in transition with a beautiful bounce pass to knot the score at 57. However, Isaiah Livers countered immediately with Detroit’s 13th 3-pointer of the half.
But, Indiana did not tremble. Trailing 62-61 with 46.2 seconds to go, Washington Jr. grabbed Indiana its first lead with a trey from the left baseline. They held onto a 66-62 lead as the first half closed.
After Jackson started the third with a flush, Detroit mounted an 11-2 run, including three more treys, to earn a 73-70 lead with 9:25 left.
Trailing 79-75 with 7:08 to play, Indiana earned a four-point lead after Brissett tallied eight unanswered, including two triples, in 55 seconds. Then, when Edwards retaliated with a three, Brissett drained a third trey to push Indiana’s lead to 86-82. Haliburton assisted on all three 3-pointers during the spree.
But Detroit came right back. The visitors mounted a 9-0 spree, including 3-pointer number 18, to jump ahead, 91-86, with 2:15 remaining.
Detroit managed to extend its lead to as high as eight down the stretch. A Hield triple with 12.6 seconds to go briefly cut the gap to five. But, Kelly Olynyk ended the frame with two free throws to give Detroit a 98-91 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Blue & Gold failed to trim the deficit over the early moments of the fourth quarter. Haliburton and Jackson attempted to start a run with back-to-back buckets in 34 seconds. But, Key finished a driving flush with 8:29 to play to give the Pistons a 107-98 advantage.
Five points from Jackson helped trim the gap to 109-103 with 6:16 remaining. But, McGruder drained the visitors’ 20th 3-pointer of the night to extend the lead to nine again. A three-point play by Jackson followed by a layup from Key soon pushed the Pistons’ lead to 117-105 with 4:24 to go.
Indiana cut the gap to six after Jackson slammed home an aggressive flush with 2:46 left. However, McGruder connected on 3-pointer number 21 on the next Pistons possession to extend the lead to 120-111.
But, Indiana was not finished. After McGruder’s triple, Haliburton finished a gritty three-point play. Then, with 1:22 left, Hield banked in a driving layup to trim the deficit to 120-116.
Indiana had a chance to come closer with its possession under 30 seconds left. But, Hield misfired on a 3-point attempt, and the ball kicked out of bounds. From there, Detroit closed out the game without another problem.
Inside the Numbers
Terry Taylor finished with 15 points and six boards – four offensive – in a starting role tonight
The Pacers outscored the Pistons in the paint (62-38) and on the fast break (25-17)
Indiana committed 19 turnovers which turned into 23 points for the Pistons
You Can Quote Me On That
“There’s a real effort on our part, and my part, to get those guys on the floor together. That’s important because of (Tyrese Haliburton’s) vision – the ability to throw lobs. They have a good natural connection there.” – Carlisle on the duo of Haliburton and Jackson
“I’ve said it before. Moving forward, he’s going to grow into one of the best lob threats in the NBA. I’ve never seen a guy with that athleticism...from the minute I got here, he’s a guy that I knew could play above the rim. And I enjoy playing with guys like that.” – Haliburton on Jackson
Stat of the Night
Tyrese Haliburton became the first player in Pacers NBA franchise history to record 17 assists and zero turnovers in a game. He’s also the only player in the NBA this season with multiple 15+ assists and zero turnover games
- Goga Bitadze did not play in the second half due to right foot soreness
- The loss snapped the Pacers’ four-game home win streak against the Pistons
- Detroit takes the season series, 3-1
In their final home game of the season, the Pacers host the Philadelphia 76ers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for Fan Appreciation Night presented by Kroger on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »