After putting up a fight against the Bucks, albeit in a blowout loss, the Pistons were looking to keep that effort against a team that doesn’t have arguably the best player in the world. The Pistons came out strong in the first quarter and held the Pacers to six points through the first seven minutes of the game.
The Pistons were able to keep up the defensive intensity and hold the Pacers to 19 first quarter points. They led 31-19 after one quarter, led by Luke Kennard’s 11 points.
With Markieff Morris out with an injury, the Pistons were forced to play Thon Maker, and things went south a bit in the second quarter when Maker checked in. It’s more so the fact that the Pistons defense and rebounding is awful without Andre Drummond, but Thon Maker also is not good and should never be paired with Christian Wood, although the Pistons had no choice in this one. Indiana scored 11 points in the three minutes the Pistons were without Drummond in the second quarter.
The Pistons bench was not very good in the second quarter, and the Pistons lead was down to two by the time the starters came back in halfway through the quarter. The Pistons starters were able to right the ship with their solid defense from the first quarter. Blake Griffin looked like vintage Blake Griffin, so much so that he did this:
The Pistons took a 55-44 lead into halftime.
The Pistons came out of halftime without the same intensity defensively as they had in the 1st half and the Pacers were able to get the game close. They ended up tying up the game for the first time with 5 minutes left in the second quarter, as yet another 3rd quarter implosion doomed the Pistons. The Pacers started to pull away as the Pistons decided to stop doing everything that worked for them in the 1st half.
The Pistons would head into the 4th quarter down 75-71, as they were able to stop the Pacers from letting their momentum put this game out of reach.
The Pistons came out of the 4th quarter more engaged as Andre Drummond continued his absolute domination of the Indiana Pacers. He led the Pistons on both ends of the court with 25 points, 21 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.
The Pistons were able to answer every Indiana run in the 4th quarter with a run of their own. The teams were trading leads for the last four minutes of the 4th quarter before the Pistons came up clutch with a huge three by Blake Griffin and the dagger by Derrick Rose on a floater from the baseline. The Pistons averted disaster and were able to win 108-101 and win the season series against Indiana 3-1.
Blake Griffin was also dominant with 25 points. He was only 7-of-17 from the field, but he hit his shots when it looked like Indiana might start pulling away. Derrick Rose also had a rough game, but made some huge shots down the stretch to finish with 14 points.
TJ Warren couldn’t miss in the 2nd half for Indiana and almost single-handedly won this game for the Pacers. He finished with 26 points, with most of them coming in the 2nd half.
The Pistons got a huge win against a good team and will travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Monday.