NBA Game Summary - Detroit at Indiana
(Tuesday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Detroit 100, Indiana 85
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Tayshaun Prince tallied a game-high 24 points in a 100-85 victory for the Pistons over Indiana at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Prince finished the outing 9-of-16 from the floor, but just 5-of-10 at the free-throw line for the Eastern Conference-leading Pistons as they won their third straight contest.
Richard Hamilton tossed in 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, followed by Chauncey Billups with 11 points and four assists. Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber both added 10 points, while the latter cleared a game-high 10 rebounds.
Jermaine O'Neal, who dropped in eight points in the first period, ended with a team-high 20 points for the Pacers. Mike Dunleavy contributed 15 points and Danny Granger 14 and a team-best eight rebounds for Indiana, which fell two games behind Orlando for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase with eight games to play.
With the setback the Pacers are assured their first losing season in a decade. Indiana last missed the postseason in 1996-97 when the squad finished just 39-43.
The Pacers, losers in five of their last six, jumped out to a 20-6 lead thanks to 9-of-11 shooting from the field to begin. Another huge factor in the team's early success was the fact that Jamaal Tinsley handed out eight assists in the first 12 minutes alone. Tinsley accounted for just two more assists the rest of the way.
With Tinsley on the bench to begin the second quarter backup point guard Darrell Armstrong helped to keep the home team out in front, sinking back-to- back field goals less than five minutes into the period to give the Pacers a 38-28 edge.
"It was embarrassing to come out like that, especially against a team that we have a chance of playing in the first round of the playoffs," said Billups. "Luckily, we're a team that has played together a long time, long enough to be able to turn it around."
Webber, a mere 62.3 percent shooter at the free-throw line, converted two at the charity stripe with just over a minute to play before the half to cut the Indiana lead to 46-41. Flip Murray added another couple of free throws for the Pistons with 20.6 seconds remaining, leaving the Pacers with a mere three- point advantage at the break.
The first half ended somewhat awkwardly as Indiana inbounded the ball at the offensive end of the floor with 3.2 seconds to play, but due to some confusion all the players paused as O'Neal collected the pass but hesitated to go to the rim and eventually missed the rushed effort in the paint.
In the third quarter the Pistons turned the tables on Indiana, outscoring the Pacers 35-18 to take a commanding 78-64 lead heading into the fourth, thanks in part to a jumper from the right wing by Billups that beat the buzzer. Down by a point, 55-54, following a layup by Dunleavy midway through the third, Detroit closed out the frame on a 24-9 run to take control of the action.
"We got off to a good start and played two strong quarters, then we fell apart," noted Dunleavy. "They outplayed us in the third. We have to move on. You can't look back."
Billups and Hamilton both tallied nine points in the third for the Pistons, while Dunleavy posted six for Indiana.
The Detroit attack didn't stop there though, as the visitors opened the fourth with four unanswered baskets, one of which was a three-pointer, pushing the difference to 23 points.
The Pacers had just six turnovers in the first half, but finished with 16...With the victory the Pistons are now an even 8-8 all-time in Conseco Fieldhouse against Indiana...Wallace played sparingly in the second half after hyperextending his pointer finger on his non-shooting hand...Indiana's Jeff Foster did not play in the game due to back spasms.
04/03 22:37:15 ET