Time to hit the reset button.
The Indiana Pacers have been riding an emotional wave and some real solid play under new coach, Frank Vogel, but that all came crashing down tonight in Detroit where the Pistons held on for a 115-109 overtime win.
Honestly, the Pacers didn't deserve to win this game and how they managed to sneak back into the game late and force overtime is hard to fathom. The Pistons seemed to have a 6 to 10-point lead throughout the second half until a pair of plays gave the Pacers hope and let doubt creep into the Pistons' heads.
Down eight points with four minutes to play, Josh McRoberts had a flying, one-handed, volleyball-spike, follow dunk. Then Brandon Rush blocked a shot on the defensive end and then a three to finally cut the deficit three points in 30 seconds. Later, Darren Collison brushed off a real tough night to finish a layup in traffic that would tie the game up for the first time in the second half with 15 seconds left to play.
The Pistons then went for the game-winner by isolating Tayshaun Prince on Danny Granger. Collison arrived to help get a hand on the ball while Granger was, well, mugging Prince. No whistles and the game went to overtime.
That's it. That's about all of the positive points that I can pull from this loss for the Pacers. There were some good individual plays, but as a team, nothing else. Fittingly, overtime played out just as the rest of the game had up until the final four minutes. Detroit made shots and when they didn't they rebounded their misses and broke the Pacers' spirit by converting the extra chances.
The Pistons were desperate for a win and played like it. They took the game to the Pacers and out-worked the blue and gold much of the night. The Pacers simply can't afford to be our-worked by any team in the league. It happens, now get some rest and get right for a fresh start next week.
After the jump, a few more thoughts on the loss.
- The Pistons were on fire in the first half, scoring 60 points and shooting 64.3% from the floor. They appeared to alternate between perimeter shots and dunks or alley oop finishes at the rim. Prince, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon shot 15 for 17 to score 33 first-half points. Fortunately, most of the perimeter shots were a step or two inside the 3-ball line. In fact, Detroit only made on 3-pointer in their hot-shooting half, which offers up some proof for how that deep two is the least efficient shot in the game. The Pacers kept lingering around and closed the half only down five points.
- The box score says the Pacers out-rebounded the Pistons 46-45 and on the offensive glass, 18-17 but it seemed far worse. Maybe because the Pacers had a lot of tips, but the Pistons would get their rebounds on missed shots that first appeared like a defensive stop, but a failure to get a body on a Piston or a long bounce, gave Detroit new lilfe. Detroit had 8 offensive rebounds in the thhird quarter which put Detroit in control of the game.
- The Pacers struggled defensively as well. Allowing too many perimeter shots at times, poor transition defense at other times. Rodney Stuckey was stout in the post with help arriving too late. Heck, Chris Wilcox scored 8-straight points at one point in the fourth quarter. It's winning time and Wilcox is getting off. One of those nights.
- Roy Hibbert kept the Pacers hanging around at the offensive end. The big fella tied his career-high with 29 points, working quite a bit on the smaller Ben Wallace. He rushed his shot at time but found a rhythm in the second half by taking his time, knowing he could get his shot over Wallace.
- The Goon Squad was more like the snooze squad compared to last night's effort against Miami. They made a few plays here and there, including Dahntay Jones scoring 11-straight points to start the second quarter, but as a whole the bench was outscored by Detroit 44-28 and those defensive lapses were a killer. Jeff Foster missed the game after tweaking his ankle last night and the Pacers sure could've used him on the glass or just to bang into some Pistons when they went to the hoop.
- Darren Collison had another rough shooting night goping 3 of 11 from the field to finish with 6 points, 9 assists and 3 turnovers. DC's shaky decisions down the stretch made the comeback a challenge, but he was able to make a couple of key plays to push the game into overtime.
- Paul George tweaked a groin muscle and didn't play much, finishing with 0 points on the night. The rook may need the break more than any other player so he can get rid of that sickness once and for all and heal up the strains for the final 28 games.
- Danny Granger played 40 minutes and scored 28 points making 11 of just 16 shots. Unfortunately, his counterpart with the Pistons, Tayshaun Prince matched those FG numbers and finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds to help neutralize Granger.