Pacers’ late rally falls short in 104-98 loss to Pistons
INDIANAPOLIS — The Detroit Pistons refused to blow another big lead in Indiana.
Andre Drummond finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds as Detroit withstood another late rally to beat the Pacers 104-98 on Friday night.
Reggie Bullock finished with 15 points for Detroit, which let a 22-point cushion get away last time it was in Indianapolis.
“I thought we fought through a lot at the end,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “They went on a big run and our guys just hung in there and fought through the pressure. We just kept playing and got some big shots down the stretch. I would’ve taken a 15-point win, but I think to be good you have to be able to win in different ways.”
The Pistons had their biggest lead of the game at 95-79 with 9:12 to play before the Pacers put together a late offensive surge.
Indiana outscored Detroit 19-5 during the final eight minutes and had a chance to take the lead on Myles Turner’s 3-point attempt with less than 30 seconds left, but the shot fell short and Detroit grabbed the rebound.
Victor Oladipo had 26 points and eight rebounds for Indiana. Turner added 24 points and eight boards.
Drummond’s biggest basket of the night came with about four minutes to play when he was fouled on a follow shot after Ish Smith missed a jumper. Drummond made his free throw, which gave Detroit a 100-93 lead.
“Andre was big tonight,” Van Gundy said. “That three-point play was a monster play.”
The Pistons jumped out quickly behind Drummond, who dominated inside with eight points and eight rebounds during the first quarter. The Pistons led Indiana 27-19 at the end of the period.
The Pistons led by as many as 14 points during the first half, but Indiana closed with a 21-9 scoring run that gave the Pacers a 54-52 lead at halftime. Detroit opened the second half on a 7-0 run. The Pistons then ended the third quarter on a 13-4 run and entered the fourth quarter with an 86-74 lead.
The Pacers never led by more than four points.
“We did dig a hole tonight,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ve got to stay together and understand that in situations like that when you’re playing from behind, one guy is not going to be able to do it. And you’ve got to do it together.”
— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) December 16, 2017
Pistons: Avery Bradley was held out of Friday night’s game due to a right adductor (groin) strain. Bradley went through pregame warmups with the team before notifying Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy he was not able to play. … After starting the season 10-3, the Pistons have gone 6-10, including three straight wins. … Drummond recorded his 20th double-double of the season.
Pacers: Indiana is now 11-7 vs. Eastern Conference opponents, with five of those 11 wins coming against Central Division rivals.
Every one of Detroit’s reserves scored on Friday night. The Pistons’ bench outscored Indiana’s 43-22. Stanley Johnson led all Detroit reserves with 13 points, Langston Galloway scored 11 and Anthony Tolliver finished with nine points.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy earned his 500th career win. Van Gundy has compiled a 500-354 record over 12 seasons in the NBA, which includes prior stints with the Heat and Magic. In his fourth season with Detroit, Van Gundy also serves as the organization’s president of basketball operations.
Pistons: Host Orlando on Sunday.
Pacers: Visit Brooklyn on Sunday.