A lackluster defensive effort from the Indiana Pacers did them no favors against the Detroit Pistons, dropping them back into the loss column for the fourth time in five games. The Pistons used two second quarter runs to take control of the game, one coming early in the second when a 10-0 put Detroit ahead 46-42, and an 11-0 late in the second turned a tight game into a double digit one.
The second run came in a hurry, with the Pistons hitting three consecutive threes in a minute's time to build a 10-point halftime lead. The Pistons didn't let up in the third, outscoring Indiana 37-24 in the third, taking advantage of the problematic Pacers defense to build a 27-point third quarter lead. The transition defense for the Pacers was nonexistent, resulting in 27 points off of turnovers and 29 fast break points.
Indiana had no trouble shooting the ball, shooting well into the 50% range all night, though they finished at just 50%, including 3-16 from three point range, but it didn't result in enough points to keep up with their woeful defensive effort. Nor did it help with their rebounding, where they were outboarded by 13, with just five offensive rebounds while allowing 10. The Pistons also had their way at the three point line, hitting 13 from deep.
George Hill led the Pacers in scoring on a night where no one was able to carry an offensive load. He had 14 on 7-12 shooting. Paul George had 13 on a woeful 4-16 night. Monta Ellis followed his best game as a Pacer by getting taken out of the game (literally and figuratively) with two fouls in the opening 90 seconds. Rodney Stuckey led the bench with 10 points.
The second quarter runs weren't out of nowhere in tonight's game. Indiana wasn't on point from the outset, which is where the longevity of this team's success will be determined. The November success came from effort on the defensive end helping their improved offense to big wins, but the overall grind of the season may be settling in on the Pacers, where their shortcomings could become more pronounced.
Indiana will have a chance to rebound (literally and figuratively) when they host the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, looking to avenge an opening loss night.