Pacers top Pistons two nights in a row

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — If the Indiana Pacers could make the NBA
schedule, they would probably be playing the Detroit Pistons again on
Sunday.

Probably Monday, as well.

One night after blowing the Pistons out
in Indianapolis, the Pacers did the same thing at the Palace on Saturday
night. David West scored 16 points and Paul George had a double-double
to help Indiana cruise to a 90-72 win over Detroit.

“Any time you play a team back-to-back,
they are going to be dialed into what you do, especially with this being
the fourth time this season.” George said. “We knew they were going to
make it a different game this time, but we take pride in our defense.”

The Pacers won 114-82 Friday night in
Indianapolis, and led by as many as 21 in the return leg. George
finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana, which had five
players in double figures and got Danny Granger on the floor for the
first time this season.

“Our defense carried us throughout most
of the game — we held those guys to 33 percent,” said Indiana coach
Frank Vogel. “We struggled to make shots this time, but we still ended
up at 45 percent, which is pretty good.”

Granger, who sat out the first 55 games
of the season with a knee injury, missed his first eight shots before
hitting one in the fourth quarter. He finished with two points on
1-for-10 shooting in 18 minutes.

“He was rusty, but that’s to be
expected,” Vogel said. “That’s why we aren’t throwing him out there for
40 minutes. He’s been a lot better in practices, but this was his first
time at game speed in a long time.”

Will Bynum led Detroit with 15 points
before getting ejected for striking Tyler Hansbrough in the groin in the
fourth quarter. Hansbrough said he didn’t know what caused it, and
Bynum wasn’t willing to be specific.

“It was just something that happened in
the heat of the moment — it wasn’t something I planned intentionally,”
Bynum said. “There’s a level of frustration when you are getting
drilled by the same team for the second night in a row.”

After trailing by as many as 43 in
Indiana, the Pistons started the second game of the home-and-home series
by missing 16 of their first 17 shots.

“Our starting unit defends as well as
any I have ever been around,” Vogel said. “They’ve been doing this all
year, and that’s a big reason for our success.”

Still, as good as Indiana’s defense may
be, the Pacers aren’t usually holding teams to under 6 percent shooting
for long stretches of the game.

“We got a good example tonight of
playoff basketball,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “We missed some
shots at the rim early on, and then we got frustrated and started
getting away from what we wanted to do.”

The Pacers struggled to take advantage,
turning the ball over seven times in the first nine minutes of the
game. That’s when Granger checked in for the first time this season.

“It was different, because we were
trying to get Danny into the loop — we all wanted him to get into a
groove,” George said. “Once the second half came around, we knew we had
to finish the game.”

Detroit’s second unit — including
three rookies — took a 21-20 lead midway through the second quarter,
but the Pacers finished strong to take a 39-28 lead at the break. Bynum
had 13 points for the Pistons, but Detroit’s five starters combined for
only 11 points on 4-of-22 shooting in the opening half.

Indiana pulled away in the third
quarter and, for the second night in a row, both teams emptied their
benches down the stretch.

“They have just had our number from start to finish,” Bynum said. “There is no other way to look at it.”

NOTES:
Detroit’s starters had one assist and eight turnovers in the first
half. … Charlie Villanueva and West picked up technical fouls for
confrontations on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter.