Detroit Pistons stun the high-flying Indiana Pacers
Josh Smith top scored for the second consecutive game as he posted an imposing 30 points in Detroit Pistons hard-fought victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Pistons managed the feat no other team has so far this season, beating the Pacers 101-96 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday.
Indiana were 11-0 at home going into the game and boasted a sublime 20-3 record.
Maurice Cheeks’ new and improved roster outplayed them on the night though, with a stand out performance from the newly acquired Josh Smith.
The 28-year-old shot 13/25 field goals with one three pointer, seven rebounds and two blocks in a performance that saw his side grind down the Pacers.
Cheeks on Smith (NBA.com) : “I just looked at his numbers here, his numbers in Atlanta and tried to figure out what I can do to get him better shots, get him playing well.”
Another newly acquired Piston, Brandon Jennings added 18 points and eight assists in what was probably the best night of the season for the visitors. The guard scored eight of his points in the last 4 minutes; including a step back three to ease the pressure on his team.
Jennings told NBA.com: “The last five minutes of the game, coach wants the ball in my hands, not necessarily to shoot it but to make plays for my teammates and just be aggressive. I love it. He’s putting a lot of pressure on me because the last five minutes is basically the game.”
Pistons led 56-49 at the half; however it was the third quarter that ultimately made the difference. Four speedy baskets from Smith extended the lead to 72-61. Pacers were given hope late on when Luis Scola scored six points in an 8-0 run.
However, Jennings’ scored five quick points to add to a nice jumper from Smith and Pistons regained a seven point lead. Lance Stephenson hit back with five points of his own but it was not enough to stop the deserved winners.
Lance Stephenson top scored for Indiana with a career-high 23 points and Luis Scola netted 18 in just 20 minutes, with 8/11 field goals.
Paul George scored below 20 for the third consecutive game and Roy Hibbert recorded only six points and four rebounds.
Pacers will look to get back to winning ways against Heat on Thursday, whilst the Pistons face Boston Celtics in an all-Eastern clash.