NBA Game Summary - Detroit at Indiana
(Saturday, December 25th)
Final Score: Detroit 98, Indiana 93
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Richard Hamilton poured in a game-high 25 points to lead Detroit to a 98-93 win over Indiana on Christmas Day at Conseco Fieldhouse.
This marked the first meeting between the teams since the disgraceful brawl that took place at The Palace on November 19. Indiana won that fight-marred affair, 97-82. The game had to be stopped because of the fracas and NBA commissioner David Stern showed no mercy as he suspended Indiana's Ron Artest for the remainder of the season for his part in the incident. Stern also suspended eight other players for their parts in the melee that started on the court and eventually found its way into the seats and included the fans.
Artest's teammate, Stephen Jackson, received a 30-game suspension, while Indiana All-Star Jermaine O'Neal was originally scheduled to miss 25 contests. However, O'Neal was available for this game after a federal judge upheld an arbitrator's ruling that reduced the suspension to only 15 games.
"I didn't start to feel comfortable until the second half," said O'Neal. "Any time you miss 15 games, it's tough on you. I feel bad for my teammates because they were trying to make sure I was in a comfort zone."
Detroit suffered it biggest loss with a six-game suspension to Ben Wallace, whose two-handed shove to Artest's face instigated the fracas.
Chauncey Billups added 20 points and Tayshaun Prince contributed 18 and eight rebounds for the Pistons, who snapped their two-game losing streak. Rasheed Wallace added 16 points and Antonio McDyess finished with 13 points and eight boards in the win.
"We had a lot of guys play well," said Detroit head coach Larry Brown. "Our bench was really solid, though we didn't shoot really well. We didn't force up a bunch of shots. I'm just glad we won. I'm glad it's over. Now we can all go enjoy our Christmas and be with our families."
Reggie Miller scored 24 points and O'Neal added 21 for the Pacers, who have dropped three straight and 10 of their last 12 contests. Fred Jones netted 15 points and Jeff Foster chipped in 10 points and 16 rebounds in the setback.
Indiana trailed by eight after three quarters, but opened the fourth with a 6-0 surge to pull within two points with 10:26 remaining. However, Detroit steadied itself and used a 9-2 run midway through the period to build its lead to 78-69.
Jamaal Tinsley's driving layup with 3 1/2 minutes remaining brought Indiana within 84-78, but Rasheed Wallace's three-pointer with 1:29 left in the game gave the Pistons a seemingly comfortable nine-point lead.
The margin grew to 10 points at 92-82 moments later, but the Pacers did not go away quietly. Three-pointers by Jones and Miller pulled Indiana within 92-88 with 39.5 seconds left.
Detroit, though, sealed the win by knocking down six free throws in the waning seconds. The Pacers did get within four in the final 12 seconds, but it was not enough as Billups accounted for the final margin with a free throw.
"We knew this game would be tough, and we knew it would be rowdy...We wanted to come in here and get some revenge," said Billups.
The Pistons were 10-of-13 from the foul line in the final quarter.
Indiana jumped out to a 12-5 lead, courtesy of six points from Foster and four from Miller, but the Pistons quickly tied the game. Detroit used a quick 7-0 burst, capped by Billups' three-pointer, to even the game with just under six minutes left in the first quarter.
The Pacers eventually led 21-18 after one period.
Indiana led 36-34 midway through the second quarter, but the Pistons reeled off eight consecutive points to grab a 42-36 lead with just under three minutes remaining in the period. Billups netted four points during the run. The Pistons held a 46-45 advantage at the intermission.
Billups scored 12 points, while Miller led Indiana with 14 in the opening 24 minutes.
Detroit led 60-59 late in the third quarter, but ended the period with a 9-2 surge, keyed by four from McDyess, to take a 69-61 advantage after three quarters.
Detroit made 33-of-81 field goals (41 percent) and hit on 84 percent from the foul line (27-of-32). The Pacers ended 35-of-76 from the floor (46 percent) and connected on 71 percent from the charity stripe (17-of-24)...The Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak in Indiana...Detroit won for only the second time in the last seven meetings...The Pistons are 9-22 all- time on Christmas, while Indiana fell to 2-2 on December 25.
12/25 16:32:42 ET