7:00 PM ET, April 2, 2014
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
INDIANAPOLIS -- The hard part for the Indiana Pacers isn't over. It takes time to climb out of a slump.
"Once you're not playing well and you finally get a win, the hardest part is maintaining that consistency," Paul George said. "You have to understand that it's going to be different every night, but you got to find a way to build off the first win."
George hit a 3-pointer from 35-feet to give the Pacers a 94-90 lead with 3:19 remaining and Indiana never trailed the rest of the way.
Brandon Jennings hit a 3 to get Detroit within 94-93 before George scored, forced a turnover and West hit a jumper to give the Pacers a 98-93 lead with 1:35 left to play.
"We were locked in really early in this game," George said. "They made a late push when we were up a good eight points, they made a pretty good push. But I felt our guys were locked in throughout this whole game."
George's two free throws with 8:54 left in the third gave Indiana a 58-50 lead. The Pistons bounced back with a 9-0 run and Rodney Stuckey hit a 3-pointer to give Detroit a 74-73 lead with 13 seconds left in the third.
The Pacers gave fans mixed signals. At times Indiana's sluggish play showed signs of a team that continues to struggle with chemistry, shooting and turnovers.
The Pistons scored 17 points off 10 Indiana turnovers.
At other times the Pacers looked like the same old team fans were used to before the All-Star break.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse was abnormally silent when the Pistons went on an 8-0 run midway through the first quarter and took a 23-14 lead after Monroe scored with 4:19 left in the opening quarter.
Then the Pacers showed signs of life.
They went on a 12-2 spurt to close out the first. George scored to give the Pacers a 28-27 lead with 20 seconds left in the first.
Evan Turner dunked and West scored to give the Pacers a 35-32 lead with 8:03 remaining in the second quarter.
"We had good pace, we threw it up the floor, we attacked," Pistons interim coach John Loyer said. "I can't fault the way our guys played. They competed their butts off against the best team in the East."
The Pistons went on an 8-0 run to take 40-35 lead with 5:13 left in the second quarter.
Stephenson then sparked a 10-0 surge with a one-handed dunk and George closed it out with a 3 to give the Pacers a 45-40 advantage with 3:20 left in the half.
George's free throw with 31 seconds left in the second gave the Pacers a 50-46 lead at halftime.
The Pistons handed Indiana its first home loss of the season, 101-96 back on Dec. 16 -- one of the few positives for Detroit this season. The Pacers won twice in Detroit, including a 112-104 overtime win on March 15.
Indiana hopes Wednesday's win over the Pistons is the start to getting back to playing at the level they were.
"You get a win, but you have to string a couple together," Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. "Winning is hard work. We have to see if we can keep it going."
It won't be easy.
The Pacers play three of their next four games on the road. They go to Toronto on Friday and will host Atlanta on Sunday before going on the road to Milwaukee and Miami next week.
They host Oklahoma City on April 13 in Indiana's final home game before the playoffs.
Detroit G Chauncey Billups was out after left knee surgery. ... Pistons G Josh Harrellson was out with a knee injury, C Andrew Bynum was out with a sore right knee and G C.J. Watson was out with a right hamstring straight. ... Hibbert left the game with 1:21 left in the first quarter after he hit the back of his head falling to the ground on a Flagrant 1 foul called on Charlie Villanueva. Team officials said Hibbert has questionable with a sore neck, but he started the second half. . The Pistons shot 44 percent in the first quarter and led by as many as nine points, but went 23 of 68 (33.8 percent) in the final three quarters.
INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 2: Lance Stephenson #1 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball against the Detroit Pistons at...(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Paul George put up 27 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He also hit some monster shots in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from almost half court during some shot-clock confusion. Simply put, he was dominant.
X factor: The Pacers were down in the middle of the second quarter until Lance Stephenson started a 10-0 run with a dunk and finished it with a skip-through-the-legs pass to a cutting teammate to help the Pacers take a halftime lead.
That was ... a step in the right direction: The Pistons aren't world beaters, but a win is a win and for the Pacers it was very much needed. To score more than 100 points for the first time since March 15 was a nice sign as well.
Next 5 Games
From Elias: 137 teams in NBA history have entered the All-Star Break with a win percentage of .700 or better, including the Pacers this season (.769). Among those teams, the Pacers are on pace for the 3rd-worst post All-Star Break win percentage (currently .522). None of the four teams on this list made it to the Conference Finals.[+]
Worst Post All-Star Break Win Pct - Entered Break With .700 Win Pct
Indiana went 8-10 in March while averaging just 96.5 points per 100 possessions during that span, 2nd-fewest in the league. Each of the other teams that rank in the bottom 4 of that category have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Entering March, the Pacers were averaging 102.5 points per 100 possessions.[+]
Fewest Points Per 100 Possessions - Last Month
ESPN Stats & Information
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