The Pistons got off to a hot start against Indiana, but you knew it wasn’t going to last. The third best team in the East versus the notoriously up-and-down Pistons, nothing comes too easily for the latter. But it still came easier than expected.
Outside of a push early in the third quarter when the Pacers managed to close the gap, the Pistons pretty much controlled it.
They controlled the tone defensively, forcing six turnovers in the first quarter. That type of stuff leads to nice looks on the offensive end and the Pistons logged 36 points in the first period.
The Pacers were locked in on Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson’s hot streak wasn’t there tonight, but Andre Drummond and Luke Kennard picked up the slack.
Outside of a poor stretch to open the third quarter, Drummond was excellent on both ends. He passed up bad looks, was tough on the offensive glass, and disruptive defensively. Drummond finished with 26 points on 12-21 shooting, 16 rebounds including 9 on the offensive end, two steals, and three blocks.
Kennard scored 19 points in just 23 minutes and taking only 10 shots. He particularly heated up in the second quarter, leading the bench unit. His 5-8 three point shooting led a strong game for the team overall, as the Pistons hit 18 threes at a 44 percent clip.
Indiana roughed up Blake, putting some modern day Jordan Rules on him, but he still finished with a triple double. 20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 5-10 from three. But the rest was super ugly. 1-8 inside the arc, 3-8 from the free throw line, and he was slow getting up after a scramble for a loose ball late in the game. You knew this would be one he’d be glad to see end.
Despite an 11 point Pistons lead with just four minutes to go, the Pacers played hard to the finish. The four point final score was closer than the game felt and it never really seemed like there was much of a risk of a major collapse.
Domantas Sabonis was his usual incredibly efficient self, but went down late with a rough looking sprained ankle. Hopefully not serious. Already without Victor Oladipo, losing Sabonis for any length of time would be rough for them - plus it’d be a shame to see Sabonis go down during such a breakout season.
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