Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 PM at Palace of Auburn Hills
Game Preview: IND (34-21) vs DET (22-35)
by Scott Agness
The Pacers square off against the Detroit Pistons Saturday night for the second time in as many nights. A win would give the Pacers a season sweep of the four-game series. They have won the first three meetings by an average margin of 20 points.
Nothing went well for the Pistons last night in a 32-point loss. Postgame, a frustrated head coach Lawrence Frank said, “Look, we got our a** handed to us. I mean it was a total embarrassment.”
Detroit’s struggles throughout the night can mostly be attributed to the dominant performance by the Pacers, who won at every aspect of the game. Jose Calderon, who was recently acquired from Toronto in a trade and Frank Vogel said has “killed them” in the past, was held to five points on 1-of-6 shooting. After a public statement like that from Frank, he can only hope that his team responds and gives him an effort he can be proud of.
The Pacers’ offense has been outstanding recently, especially in the two games following the All-Star break. They’ve scored well over 100 points while holding their opponents under 92, and come out on top by 30+ in both games. Ball movement, sharing of the ball, and points in transition have all been key factors to their excellent offensive play.
Tonight’s game quite possibly could mark the return of Danny Granger for the Pacers. He led the team in scoring in each of the last five years but hasn't played a regular-season game this year due to a left knee injury. He practiced all week with the team, but did sit out last night. Should his knee be fine in the afternoon from this week’s workload, he’ll likely return in limited fashion off the bench.
Pacers: Danny Granger (day-to-day, left knee)
Pistons: Brandon Knight (day-to-day, hyperextended right knee), Andre Drummond (out, stress fracture in back)
“I think there’s a chance. We’re going to talk, see how he responded to his work today.” – Frank Vogel on whether Granger will play
“Whoever loses game one has the advantage in game two. Losing brings an edge that you can’t replicate just by trying to replicate. Whoever wins game one will have a bigger challenge in terms of maintaining that edge.” – Frank Vogel said Friday, on the challenge of facing the same team in back-to-back nights
- The Pacers have taken 13 of their last 16 meetings with the Pistons, including four in a row.
- On the second night of a back-to-back, the Pacers are 9-5.
- Over the last ten games, Orlando Johnson is shooting 48 percent from the field and averaging five points in 12 minutes of work.
The Pacers took a double-digit lead just over three minutes into the game and rolled from there to a 114-82 thrashing. They scored 30+ points in the opening quarter for the third-straight game. Because of their 40+ point advantage, Indiana’s starters should be mostly rested, having not played a minute in the fourth quarter.
Six Pacers scored in double-figures (and the whole team made at least a basket), led by David West’s 18 points and eight rebounds. George Hill chipped in 15 points and six assists. Orlando Johnson finished with a career-high 14 points, on 5-of-5 shooting. Rodney Stuckey, in the starting lineup for the injured Brandon Knight, scored 11 points and was the only Pistons starter with more than five points.
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host) Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)