Pacers eyeing fourth straight win as Pistons come to town
But after sitting out three of the previous five games with a bruised right knee, Evans scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting in a 129-121 victory at Atlanta. He also had five assists with just one turnover.
“I’m the type of player that likes to play through injuries,” Evans said. “I’m a tough kid. I think it was the best thing to go see the doctor and he helped me out. Now I’m moving better and I’m feeling good. When I’m healthy, the sky’s the limit.”
The Pacers (23-12) look to extend their winning streak to four when it faces Detroit (16-16).
“I thought he was aggressive, making plays,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said of Evans. “He was making shots and defensively he was pretty solid. We want our guys to be aggressive and I thought he did a good job of attacking.”
Evans is averaging 10.6 points on 37.5 percent shooting. Evans, whose career scoring average is 16.1, averaged 19.4 points in 52 game for Memphis last season.
The Pacers tied a season-high with 35 assists.
“When guys are open, get them the ball,” McMillan said. “You shoot a better percentage when you move with the ball and have your feet set. It’s tough to guard when you move the ball.”
The Pacers bench contributed 54 points in a game
“We needed our bench,” McMillan said. “But I thought both units were good both halves. It takes both units. We were able to get some stops when we needed them.”
The bench plays big for Detroit, too, in Wednesday’s 106-95 victory over visiting Washington, primarily shooting guard Langston Galloway, who scored 22 points in 23 minutes.
“He was great. I don’t know how he made those 3s, he’s got to give me some of those,” teammate Bruce Brown said.
Galloway sank 4 of 7 3-pointers.
“You have to have a gunslinger’s mentality and he’s developed that,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s the role he has for us. He’s a team-first guy. It’s not about Langston. He never sulks or drops his shoulders.”
Galloway said he just wanted to be aggressive and find his spots.
“My teammates started looking for me,” Galloway said. “Once I hit one (3-pointer), they started realizing I had it going.”
Detroit rookie Bruce Brown provided a spark with his defensive play, along with eight points and four assists.
“When I bring the energy, we usually play well,” Brown told Fox Sports Detroit. “The ball is moving and I make hustle plays. Everyone gets up when I do that. It’s a huge win for us. We were on a two-game losing streak, so to snap that and now we go to Indiana and have to play extremely well.”
One negative for the Pistons was a season-high 24 turnovers.
“You can always do a better job when you have that many turnovers,” said forward Blake Griffin, who leads the Pistons with a 25.2 scoring average. “They play aggressively in the passing lanes but you have to a more concerted effort. Transition, points off turnovers and second-chance points, those things we feel like we can control better than we did.”
Casey was disappointed the Pistons committed 12 turnovers in the fourth quarter and saw a 22-point lead shrink to three in the closing minutes, but was pleased with the outcome.
Prior to topping Washington, the Pistons had lost nine of their previous 11 games.
“It was one of the must-wins for morale and steadying the ship, so to speak,” Casey said.
This is the first of four meetings between Indiana and Detroit this season.