A win by the playoff-hopeful Indiana Pacers over one of the
elite teams in the Eastern Conference might usually have coach
Frank Vogel thrilled. That wasn’t the case when that victory came
two days after a loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons.
The inconsistent Pacers hope to build on their latest win and
exact some revenge Wednesday night when they host the Pistons.
Indiana (33-42) owns a one-game lead over Charlotte in the race
for the East’s final playoff spot, and swept the season series from
the Bobcats with a 23-point victory in Charlotte last
Any momentum gained from that big win was quickly lost when the
Pacers proceeded to drop their next two games to Sacramento and
Detroit – two of the NBA’s worst teams. Indiana rebounded from
those defeats with Monday’s 107-100 win over Boston, which is
battling for the conference’s top seed.
“One day, probably when I’m old and gray, I’ll try to figure out
what was wrong with us – why we can beat Boston, but lose to
Sacramento and Detroit,” Vogel said. “I can’t figure it out, but we
definitely needed this. We’re going to have to figure it out at
A couple of obvious reasons the Pacers lost 100-88 to the
Pistons on Saturday were their starters struggling offensively and
the whole team playing poor defense.
Indiana’s starting lineup had 45 points – 21 fewer than it had
Monday – on 40.4 percent shooting with more turnovers (14) than
assists (13). Reserve Brandon Rush had a team-high 19 points for
the Pacers, who fell to 0-22 when failing to score more than
They allowed Detroit (26-47) to shoot 51.3 percent and reach the
century mark for the first time in five games. The Pistons, idle
since that matchup, are 21-12 when they hit triple digits but just
5-35 when they don’t.
Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 23 points, while Charlie
Villanueva scored 13 playing the entire fourth quarter after
watching the first three from the sidelines. Coach John Kuester
benched Villanueva for all of Friday’s 97-91 loss to Cleveland.
“I expected the same amount of time as last game, but at the
same time I had to be ready,” Villanueva said. “We have nine or 10
games left. I’m not really worried about it. Whatever coach wants
to do, I’ll back him up.”
The Pistons are on the verge of playoff elimination, six games
back of Indiana with nine to play.
While the Pacers struggled defensively down the stretch
Saturday, allowing Detroit to make 10 of 19 shots in the fourth
quarter, they did a much better job late against Boston. Indiana
limited the Celtics to 4-of-14 shooting in the fourth while
outscoring them 26-15.
Roy Hibbert took advantage of Boston’s depleted front line to
lead the Pacers on Monday with 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting. Two
days earlier, Hibbert had six points on 3-of-10 shooting versus
Tyler Hansbrough had five points Monday but could be in line for
a better performance after scoring 16 against the Pistons.
Hansbrough has alternated good and bad outings in his last six
games, averaging 18.0 points on 60.0 percent shooting in three and
6.7 points on 30.8 percent shooting in the other three.