Josh Smith leads Pistons past Pacers, who suffer first home loss
Josh Smith had 30 points, Greg Monroe finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons handed Indiana its first home loss Monday night, stunning the Pacers 101-96.
The Pistons won for the second time in six games, ending a six-game skid in the series and a nine-game losing streak on the Pacers’ home court.
Lance Stephenson had a season high 23 points, while Luis Scola scored 13 of his season-best 18 in the fourth quarter for Indiana (20-4), which was 11-0 at home coming into the game. Indiana and Oklahoma City were the only NBA teams to start Monday night with perfect home records.
Detroit held a 55-40 rebounding edge and outscored the Pacers in the paint.
Indiana tied the score four times and got as close as 96-94 late in the fourth.
Indiana, which heads to Miami on Wednesday night for a rematch with the two-time defending champs, struggled offensively. The Pacers repeatedly got beaten up inside and never could quite dig itself out of an early hole.
Even in the second half, when the Pacers typically dominate, they couldn’t.
Smith scored Detroit’s first eight points of the second half and when Brandon Jennings knocked down a 3 with 7:47 left in the third, the Pistons led 68-59.
With the Pacers showing their frustration, Detroit took advantage and extended the lead to 72-61 and kept Indiana at arm’s length the rest of the way.
David West scored on a short hook shot and Stephenson drove for an explosive dunk to help Indiana cut the deficit to 79-73 after three, but Detroit rebuilt an 89-79 cushion midway through the fourth.
And when the Pacers thought they had an answer as Scola scored 10 straight points to make it a six-point deficit with 5:56 to play, the Pistons again pushed the lead to 96-89.
Indiana made one last charge, getting within 96-94 on Stephenson’s 3 with 1:17 left, but the Pistons closed it out by making five free throws in the final minute.
It was that kind of night for Indiana — all night, which never completely recovered from Detroit’s initial 13-3 run that made it 23-14 late in the first quarter.