Pistons hand Pacers first home defeat, 101-96

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 16, 2013 at 10:10 pm •  Published: December 16, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Detroit beat Indiana at its own game Monday night.

The Pistons were tougher inside, tougher on defense and tougher at fending off challenges.

On a night the Eastern Conference's best team looked like anything but, Josh Smith scored 30 points and Greg Monroe had 13 points and 12 rebounds to help Detroit send Indiana to a 101-96 loss — the Pacers' first at home this season.

"It's impressive the way we came in and competed with the way the Pacers have been playing," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We have a good basketball team."

Detroit (12-14) proved it with a nearly perfect game.

The Pistons dominated on the glass with a 55-40 overall advantage and a 20-9 edge on offensive rebounds. They matched the Pacers' shooting percentage of 43.2 percent, had one more 3-pointer and nearly an identical shooting percentage on 3s (35.3 to 35.0), outscored Indiana 44-38 in the paint and 22-14 on second-chance points.

For a Pacers team that prides itself on defense and rebounding, it wasn't even close to their best.

Detroit also finished with nearly as many blocks (seven) as turnovers (eight) and made five of six free throws during the final minute to hold off Indiana's last charge.

The most surprising element was that Indiana never tied the score in the second half and never took the lead on its home floor, where it had gone 11-0 before Monday night. The loss leaves the Pacers (20-4) with the second-best record in the league, percentage points behind Portland (21-4).

The Pistons knew that to end their six-game losing streak in this series and their nine-game losing streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, they needed to execute the game plan flawlessly. They did.

"We're forming an identity ourselves," said Smith, who went 13 of 29 from the field after meeting with Cheeks about getting more opportunities. "That has to be being a physical team, try to dominate the paint."

Indiana's uncharacteristic certainly helped the cause.

Paul George was 4 of 14 from the field, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and four turnovers. Roy Hibbert had six points and four rebounds. Even the energetic Lance Stephenson couldn't get his flustered teammates righted. Stephenson scored a career best 23 points and Luis Scola added a season high 18 points.

What went wrong for the usually unflappable Pacers?

George said the offensive rebounds got Indiana out of sync.

Others wondered if the Pacers may have been looking past Detroit, which has won just two of their last six games, and ahead to Wednesday night's rematch with Miami. Indiana beat the two-time defending NBA champs on their home court 90-84 last week and have made no secret that they're out to get the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.



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