The Pistons' starters played more than 10 minutes in the first quarter, building a six-point lead everyone could feel pretty good about heading into the second quarter. Unfortunately, the bench came and it confarted...
As fast as a cold smelly breeze, the Pacers went on a 20-0 run to start the second quarter to put the Pacers up 44-30, forcing Stan Van Gundy's hand to immediately bench his bench. The starting five -- behind Andre Drummond's fourth double-double of the season -- managed to keep the game from going completely unhinged, but the Pacers still held a 12-point lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Pistons had plenty of chances to work themselves back into the game, but they shot poorly (41%) and had eight turnovers, half of which came from its poor point guard play. After 36 minutes, the Pacers' bench outscored the Pistons' bench 34-0. !!!!!!
Another reason the Pistons' starters couldn't overcome its bench's shortcoming was Paul George. George hit big rally-killing shots in both the third and fourth quarters and finished with 16 in all.
Rodney Stuckey, the last Pistons player to win Player of the Week back in 2009, absolutely killed the Pistons with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Speaking of rally-killing shots, he knocked down a dagger deuce in the fourth quarter after a thunderous Kentavious Caldwell-Pope slam brought the Pistons to within 12. Stuckey scored 15 points in a row for the Pacers at one point.
Drummond had his second 20-20 of the season with 25 points and 29 (!!!) rebounds, a career high. He played the entire second half, because the bench and he's 22 and awesome.
Silver lining? Even though it felt like the Pistons were about to be run out of the gym and lose by 20-plus, they fought to hang around don't-look-now territory. In fact, they were within 11 in the fourth and had plenty of opportunities to trim the score to single digits, but couldn't knock down key shots.