Pacers 88, Pistons 77

After losing center Roy Hibbert to an injury after the first
half, the Indiana Pacers turned to their defense, Tyler Hansbrough
and Jeff Pendergraph.

Those efforts led to an 88-77 win over the Detroit Pistons on
Saturday night.

David West had 23 points and George Hill 18 points and seven
assists for the Pacers.

The win put the Pacers two games over .500 for the first time
this season.

Hibbert suffered a deep thigh bruise.

But Indiana held the Pistons scoreless for 6:05 in the fourth
quarter while also getting big efforts from reserve big men
Hansbrough and Pendergraph. Hansbrough had 11 points and six
rebounds in almost 25 minutes and Pendergraph two points and three
rebounds in just under eight minutes.

”Guys stepping up after we lost Roy to an injury,” Pacers
coach Frank Vogel said. ”… Pendergraph and Hansbrough really
stepped up.”

Paul George added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight

Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 18 points and added eight
rebounds and Rodney Stuckey had 15 points and seven assists.
Brandon Knight added 14 points.

”It came down to a grind game in the last eight minutes of the
game. They did what they do best and that’s win grind games,”
Detroit rookie center Andre Drummond said. ”They’re a great team
and David West hit a lot of tough shots today. It was a learning
game for us today.”

Kyle Singler’s jumper brought Detroit within two at 68-66 with
nine minutes left.

But that’s when the Pacers defense put the clamps on the Pistons
offense, which didn’t score again until Stuckey’s driving layup
with 2:55 remaining.

”That’s what we’ve been preaching all year long: The defense is
going to get us the wins,” Hill said.

West added: ”We just try to make teams score through us or over

Indiana scored 11 points during that span.

West hit a free throw with 7:23 left, George put in a driving
lay-in at 6:03, West hit a hook with 5:21 remaining, Hill hit a 3
with four minutes left, George made a free throw with 3:36 on the
clock and West’s turnaround jumper gave the Pacers a 79-66 lead
with 3:17 left.

”Our crunch time defense has been solid for us this year,”
Vogel said. ”And we’ve got big-time shot makers in George Hill and
David West.”

Detroit coach Lawrence Frank lamented the Pistons’ dry

”Really, you look right at the 8:23 mark, it was a two-point
game,” he said. ”From that point on, we missed five jumpers, we
had two turnovers and a missed layup.”

Indiana took a 63-60 lead into the fourth quarter after
Singler’s 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the third and Drummond’s
put-back dunk with 49 seconds remaining in the quarter brought the
Pistons to within three.

Indiana led 42-38 at the half.

The Pacers went on an early 15-0 run that gave them a 17-6 lead
with 6:51 left in the first quarter after Gerald Green’s

But the Pistons followed that up with a 14-3 spurt that allowed
them to tie the game at 20 on Stuckey’s driving layup with 1:59
remaining in the opening quarter.

Notes: Vogel said he expected Hibbert to be ready for Indiana’s
next game, on Tuesday at Milwaukee. … Pacers guard Lance
Stephenson didn’t play because of a sprained right ankle. … Both
teams were playing for the second consecutive night. The Pacers
beat Philadelphia 95-85 at home and Detroit lost 107-105 in double
overtime to the Nets in Brooklyn.