NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 22nd (All times Eastern)
Detroit Pistons (22-34) at Indiana Pacers (33-21), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers thumped an Eastern Conference rival this week and will look to carry that momentum into Friday's home contest against their Central Division rival Detroit Pistons.
The Pacers drubbed the New York Knicks, 125-91, on Wednesday at home. Indiana jumped on the Knicks in the first quarter en route to a 30-18 lead, then clobbered New York in the second stanza, 44-26.
It all added up to a 74-44 halftime lead and the Pacers cruised in the second half to their second consecutive victory.
"A good way to come out of the break (to) get a big win like that over a really, really good basketball team," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "We just got to understand it�s one win. The Knicks didn't have it tonight. Every team in the league has a night like this."
Perhaps most startling in this decisive victory was the Pacers offensive explosion. Indiana ranks 24th in scoring in the NBA and this squad hangs its hat on defense. The Pacers lead the league in opponents scoring, but their balanced attack allowed for a season-high in points.
"Coach has been saying all year that if we continue to share the ball and trust each other and trust the pass, we can be a dominant offensive team," said George Hill. "It just showed all night that we buckled down on the defensive end and we shared the ball on the offensive end."
The Pacers have grown offensively. They've cracked the century mark in points in five of their last eight games.
All-Star Paul George led the way against the Knicks with 27 points. David West added 18, Lance Stephenson 14 and Hill and Tyler Hansbrough each scored 10. Five other Pacers had seven points or more.
The Pacers lead the Central Division, all without former All-Star Danny Granger. Just 12 games back are the Pistons, who have won two of their last three and four of six.
Detroit collected its second straight road victory on Wednesday, a 105-99 triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Brandon Knight led the way for the Pistons with 21 points, but left the game late in the third quarter after an apparent right knee injury when he collided with Bobcats' guard Kemba Walker. Knight returned, but left again in the fourth with an unrelated ankle injury.
"He'll be day-to-day," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said of Knight. "Right now we will probably label it a hyperextension. The second time it was his ankle. We will see where it is at."
Greg Monroe continued his spectacular play of late. He scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and even handed out seven assists to go along with three blocks. Monroe picked up the slack when Knight left. Monroe had 10 of the team's final 15 points.
"I knew I had to be aggressive coming down the stretch," said Monroe. "They had been doubling me most of the night, so I knew I had to make plays for my teammates out of the double-team."
Jose Calderon and Rodney Stuckey both scored in double figures as well.
The Pacers won both of this season's matchups, with one win each on home and on the road. Indiana has taken five of the last six and the Detroit hasn't won in Indianapolis since Jan. 29, 2008, losing nine in a row there.
02/22 10:31:23 ET