With their latest loss, an undisciplined one against a short-staffed Detroit Pistons squad, the Indiana Pacers have matched their season long losing streak of seven. The Pacers had numerous chances to come away with a win this evening, but 19 turnovers as a team, including two out of bounds turnovers in the last two minutes.
A lack of sharp play aside, the Pacers put themselves in a tough spot from the jump when Saddiq Bey put in six first quarter threes as part of a 10-11 start from deep for Detroit. The Pacers minimized the damage by keeping the game within four after one, but they still wound up allowing 38 points, their seventh straight game allowing at least 37 in the first.
Offense became harder to come by for both teams in the second quarter as Detroit’s shooting cooled off, but Indiana wasn’t able to capitalize into the final two minutes of the half when four points from Tyrese Haliburton tied the game at 57-57, eventually breaking through on a Duane Washington Jr. three, ending the quarter on a 7-0 run to lead by four.
Just as it appeared the Pacers settled into something, Detroit came out of the half hitting three straight threes once again to suddenly go back on top. Oshae Brissett helped the Pacers back into the lead with 11 straight Indiana points, but just as Indiana closed the second strong, the Pistons closed out the third on a 14-5 run, taking a commanding seven point lead.
Detroit pushed the lead as high as 12 in the fourth as Indiana ran short on steam offensively. Even when Indiana held the Pistons scoreless for 2:30 minutes late in the game, there was no ability to capitalize off of those stops, scoring just six points across that stretch. Washington’s out of bound turnovers set up Rodney McGruder for a crushing three that put Detroit up by nine with two minutes remaining.
That was the only shot the Pistons would make in the final 4:24 of the game, but it was still the dagger as Indiana themselves couldn’t convert a field goal after Haliburton and Buddy Hield cut it to four with a minute remaining.
This was the best defensive showing for the Pacers in this seven game losing streak, which when looking at 121 points allowed says a lot about the defense being played to close out this year. The Pacers held Detroit to 43.4%, their best in the last 10 games, but the Pistons connected on 21 of 41 from three point range, negating nearly all of Indiana’s success inside where Detroit shoot under 40%.
In addition to the three point shots, the Pacers allowed 23 points off of turnovers. Cleaning up a single one of those areas would’ve helped lift Indiana to the win, but alas, that’s why they’re likely going to end the season on a 10-game skid.
The Pacers outrebounded Detroit by 20 and blocked 11 shots as Indiana’s bigs did plenty of work around the basket. Oshae Brissett finished the game with a 20 point, 10 rebound double double, hitting four threes, but did lead the team in turnovers with five. Hield meanwhile had four turnovers, finishing with 19 points on 3-12 shooting from deep.
Three point shooting as a whole did its own part in holding Indiana back in this one, shooting just 12-38 as a team. Tyrese Haliburton, who just one game ago shot an impressive 6-6 from deep missed all five of his attempts today, but still managed to get a couple of extra point plays on and-one opportunities.
Haliburton finished the game with 19 points and 17 assists, helping Indiana’s rebounding advantage with nine. As much as the Pacers struggled with turnovers, Haliburton did not, committing zero in 39 minutes of action. As everything around this team seems to be disintegrating into offseason nothingness, Haliburton’s ball control has been a welcome bright spot. In this losing streak, he’s averaging just 1.6 turnovers per game, down from the 3.8 he was committing in his first month and change with the Pacers.
While the most of those 17 assists went to Brissett (6), five went to Isaiah Jackson, all in the second half as his minutes grew with the absence of Goga Bitadze, who left at halftime with a sore right foot. Jackson finished with 19 points as well on 8-10 shooting with seven rebounds and three blocks, five offensive.
Terry Taylor and Jalen Smith each had four offensive rebounds as Indiana compiled 17 as a team, leading to 17 second chance points. Taylor had 15 points, including a perfect night from three point range at 3-3. Washington also had multiple triples, hitting two of his eight attempts to finish with 12 off the bench.
It was also a tough loss to take on with Reggie Miller in the building to join the Pacers in celebrating and congratulating Director of Media Relations David Benner on his upcoming retirement.
The Pacers fall to 25-54 on the year with just three games remaining and it’s hard to see where a win might come. Their final three games come against the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, both teams battling hard for playoff and play-in positioning. The first of two games against Philadelphia will come on Tuesday in the final home game of the season.