The Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers hooked up for a third time this season on Saturday night at The Palace. The teams split the previous two match ups with the road team winning each time. The Pistons, with their playoff hopes on life support, would come out blazing.
Josh Smith threw an alley-oop to Andre Drummond for a dunk and Greg Monroe found Drummond for a layup to bring the Pistons within 10-9. Then Drummond conked heads with Pacers center Roy Hibbert and Drummond was woozy. He was on the ground for awhile and the stretcher came out, before he got up and walked off on his own power with the help of trainers Arnie Kander and Mike Abdenour.
Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to replace Drummond and helped the Pistons to an 8-2 run and a 17-12 lead. Smith had 11 points in the first quarter and Detroit led 29-20 after one.
In the second, the Pistons started knocking down the 3-ball. Brandon Jennings knocked down a pull-up 3, Kyle Singler hit a 3 out of the corner, Stuckey converted the old fashioned 3-point play, and even Charlie Villanueva hit a 3. Stuckey had a layup and then Jonas Jerebko came flying in for a put back dunk. The Pistons led 56-31 and a nice crowd at The Palace was loud and on their feet. The Pistons led 60-41 lead at the half and out scored Indiana 31-21 in the second quarter.
However, in classic Pistons fashion, they began to blow it.
The Pacers opened the third on an 8-0 run with five points coming from Paul George. Later, Jennings made a 3 to put Detroit up 72-57, and Indiana kept fighting to close to within 79-73 after three. George had 14 points in the third quarter to lead the Pacers’ effort of out scoring Detroit 32-19 in the third.
In the fourth, baskets by Andrew Bynum and Evan Turner helped give Indiana an 86-85 lead. Detroit’s 25 point lead had vanished. Indiana took a 91-89 lead on a Turner corner triple before Detroit had an answer.
Smith, of all people, hit nothing but net on a 3-pointer to make it 92-91 Pistons and Monroe had a layup and free throw for a 95-91 lead. Indiana battled back and took a 100-98 lead with 33 seconds left. The Pistons tied it at 100 on a Smith layup with 22.2 seconds left and George missed on the other end for the Pacers. Overtime, free basketball at The Palace tied at 100.
The Pacers out scored the Pistons 12-4 in the extra session behind David West and that was all she wrote. The Pacers prevailed 112-104 in overtime.
Smith led the way with 23 points, Monroe had 17 and 13, and Jennings had 10 and 12 assists.
The latest report on Drummond is that he went to the hospital to have his neck examined. His X-Rays came back negative and he’s day-to-day with an injured neck. Good to hear that his X-Rays are negative, might as well shut him down for the last 16 games of the season and make sure he’s good for next season.
Technically, this is good. The Pistons aren’t going to make the playoffs this season, barring a miracle. They’re draft pick is only top 8 protected and it may be in their best interest to just tank the season so they can keep their pick. Why try and make the playoffs, fail, and then have no draft pick? That would be the disaster zone. Time to tank.
Twitter: @Ky_Carlin/@gettinbuckets91 #SaveThePick