INDIANAPOLIS-The Indiana Pacers were outplayed and outmanned from the opening tip by the Detroit Pistons on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse losing their first home game of the season 101-96.
Detroit was on the back end of a back-to-back coming off of a 111-109 overtime loss to the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday night. The Pistons (12-14) outrebounded the Pacers (20-4) 55-40 leading to more second chance opportunities. And, for the second night in a row, Detroit rode the hot hand of Josh Smith who scored 30 points after scoring 31 the night before. Indiana just couldn’t find the answer.
“He (Smith) made a lot of long jump shots and a three. We weren’t awful against him but he played a great game. The biggest thing about him was he hit a lot of timely shots; every time we made a run they hit a big shot to hold us off,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. “It probably would have helped if we limited them to one shot. A lot of their easier buckets were on second chance opportunities.”
The Pistons had outscored Indiana 17-8 on second chance points, 30-12 in the paint and out-rebounded the Pacers 33-21 in the first half resulting in a 56-49 lead at halftime. It was the 13th time Indiana had trailed at the half this season and in games trailing at the half they were 10-2 before Monday’s loss. While the Pacers have been able to turn a switch in the third and rally back for the lead, tonight was a different story.
It was obvious; there was a void in the Pacers’ performance. Roy Hibbert scored six points and grabbed four rebounds and Ian Mahinmi had only one rebound and zero points. The lack of production from the two centers buried the Pacers against a team that is as good as Detroit is in the paint. Indiana played a game that was extremely out of character.
“It was just rebounding; that’s just the toughest thing about it. We never allow teams out-rebound us and they out-rebounded us by a large margin tonight and that was the determination of why we lost tonight,” Paul George said.
The Pacers did out-rebound Detroit in the fourth quarter 12-10 and got within two points after a Lance Stephenson three with fewer than two minutes left but as Vogel mentioned, the Pistons slammed the door shut once again when Brandon Jennings hit a jumper to extend Detroit’s lead once again. Stephenson finished with a career high 23 points.
With a trip to Miami for a nationally televised rematch of last Tuesday’s show down on the horizon the Pacers may have been the victim of a trap game overlooking a Pistons team that was capable of doing what they were able to do Monday night. Vogel and company don’t see it that way, though, and Wednesday night’s match up should lack any luster when the Pacers try to bounce back with a second win over the Heat; as good as it is to be on a roll, the Pacers also know how to take a loss and make it positive and that’s a good trait to have considering the opponent on deck.
“They out-hustled us. They knew who they were playing against, they wanted to bring it to us and they did, they brought it to us tonight,” Stephenson said. “This is what we were built for, when we’re down like this, we’ll pick each other up. We don’t point fingers at one another, we’ll watch film, talk to each other and we get together and figure out what we did wrong. That’s what good teams do.”
Corey Elliot is a Senior Writer at the Indy Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Pacers and has full media access. Follow Corey and the ISR on Twitter.
Corey Elliot is a Beat Writer at the Indiana Sports Report and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association. He is recognized as accredited member of the media by the Pacers and has full media access.
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