Pistons edge Pacers 96-94, keep Indiana winless
DETROIT (AP) — There are plenty of minutes available in Detroit’s rotation right now, with two starters injured.
Christian Wood is taking advantage.
Wood had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Pistons edged Indiana 96-94 on Monday night for their second victory against the winless Pacers in less than a week. Derrick Rose made a driving layup with 28.3 seconds left to give Detroit the lead for good.
The 24-year-old Wood reached double figures in scoring for a second straight game.
“It’s all about opportunity,” he said. “Always keep saying it: Once an opportunity presents itself, I’m going to do the best I can.”
Rose shot just 4 of 16 from the field and was having a particularly tough time in the fourth quarter, but his left-handed layup went in off the glass to put Detroit up 95-94. Malcolm Brogdon missed at the other end, but Indiana got an offensive rebound. T.J. Warren then missed badly on a difficult 3-pointer from the corner, and the Pistons came up with the ball.
“We have a timeout there. If you get caught, you use the timeout,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I think he lost track of time — and threw one up.”
Luke Kennard made one of two free throws for Detroit, and Indiana had one more chance with 2 seconds left. Warren missed a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Andre Drummond had 18 points and 18 rebounds for the Pistons. Detroit, playing without Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson, led most of the game, but the Pacers erased a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter and led by four late. Kennard then got a fortunate bounce on a 3-pointer to make it 94-93, and Rose’s basket gave the Pistons the lead.
Domantas Sabonis had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Indiana, and Brogdon contributed 15 points and 11 assists.
Indiana (0-3) is the last remaining team in the Eastern Conference without a victory. The Pacers are minus star guard Victor Oladipo, who is still working his way back from a right knee injury.
But the Pistons are nowhere near full strength either — Griffin (hamstring and knee injuries) hasn’t played yet this season — and they’ve beaten Indiana twice.
“We fought with them hard in the second half,” Pacers center Myles Turner said. “We still have to start games a bit better.”
Although Rose had only 10 points, the Pistons still got 46 from their reserves after the bench scored at least 50 in each of the first three games of the season.
Bruce Brown made all three of his 3-point attempts and finished with 11 points, and Wood made his huge contribution.
Wood averaged 5.3 points in 51 NBA games prior to this season.
“I thought with the two bigs that they have, it was a good matchup for him,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “He shot the ball with confidence. I don’t know if he’s ready for that banging that Markieff (Morris) can give against Sabonis down the stretch, but I thought he did a good job of keeping us afloat, extending the lead.”
Pacers: G Jeremy Lamb (right hip pointer) did not play. … Indiana won the turnover battle 20-8.
Pistons: Jackson was out with lower back tightness, and rookie F Sekou Doumbouya (concussion protocol) missed the game as well. … Former Pistons star Isiah Thomas was at the game, and the team announced it is teaming up with him on a champagne sponsorship deal. … Detroit shot 13 of 24 from 3-point range.
Pacers: At the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
Pistons: At the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.