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

assists.

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

us.”

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

spell.

”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

3-pointer.

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.