INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Entering the second-night of a back-to-back, the Indiana Pacers faced a need to get a win to snap a four-game losing streak. Against the Detroit Pistons, the Pacers came out on top with 111-95 being the final score.
There was a key lineup change from the Pacers by swapping out Jeremy Lamb in the starting five in favor of Doug McDermott. Indiana proved to benefit from this personnel choice.
It was the Pistons who managed to jump out to a bit of an advantage early in this matchup. Blake Griffin and Isaiah Stewart were getting it done in the paint and ultimately took a 10-15 lead with 5:02 left in the period. That momentum quickly weltered away after TJ McConnell and Jeremy Lamb checked into the game.
"All it comes down to is defense and getting stops. We really buckled down defensively, we were talking, communicating, and really just connected on the defensive end," McConnell said. "Then we were able to get out and run and get to our game in transition where we're really deadly."
The Pacers used a series of runs to take control to close the opening period. Indiana scored eight unanswered points entering a timeout with 2:08 left in the quarter. They built on this success ultimately to lead 28-19 entering the second frame.
Domantas Sabonis was a pivotal catalyst for the Pacers' offense in the first quarter. He chipped in 11 points and four assists and received plenty of help from teammates as every member of Indiana's team that touched the court managed to score at least once.
Detroit opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run to bring the game within two-points at the 9:59 mark, but it wasn't until later when they regained the lead. A three-pointer from Most Improved Player of the Year candidate Jerami Grant with 4:39 left in the half brought the score to 41-40 with the Pistons in the lead.
"When they made their runs, the couple runs that they had in that game, we didn't let them last that long," Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren said. "I thought we bounced back from some of the lows over the course of the game."
Both teams ended up trading their respective blows for the remainder of the action before halftime. The end results was a 52-52 tie after a jump shot from Grant was later reviewed by the NBA's Replay Center and determined as actually being a two-point basket.
There was a substantial momentum shift in the Pistons' favor before halftime. The Pacers' offense cooled off as they scored just 24 points while going 8-of-21 (38.1%) from the field. A key factor in this was Brogdon and Sabonis combining for an inefficient seven points.
Isaiah Stewart did his best the Pistons in front by scoring a quick six points to begin the third quarter but it wasn't enough. The Pacers were set on taking control and they did precisely that using a 26-14 run to take an 12-point lead at the 2:44 mark. Indiana sustained their double-figure advantage entering the final period.
"I thought we guarded the ball better tonight," Bjorkgren said. "We were disruptive. I thought we were pressed up to their shooters on the catch."
A combination of Brogdon and Turner elevated the Pacers during the third quarter. It was Brogdon who led in the scoring department with 12 points. Meanwhile, Turner provided nine points while also pulling down five boards and locking down the paint.
"I thought (Myles) made some nice plays tonight around the rim, he had some nice cuts," Bjorkgren said "I thought we were moving it better. And Malcolm in the first quarter did a good job of getting everyone involved early."
The Pacers further their advantage in the fourth quarter with Brogdon and Sabonis on the court with key bench players like Jeremy Lamb and TJ McConnell. Indiana achieved a game-high 19-point lead with 5:08 left in the game.
"I think for us, all it comes down to is defense and getting stops," McConnell said. "When we're really connected defensively, like we were tonight, we're tough to beat."
Indiana had did not even need Turner to check back into the game at any point in the fourth quarter. Managing to win a matchup in that kind of fashion is quite intriguing for a team that was sorely in need of a strong bounce-back outing.
After setting new season-lows in scoring in their previous two games, the Pacers as a team put together a strong all-around offensive performance. Indiana ended their outing by going 44-of-86 (51.2%) from the field, 14-of-31 (45.2%) on three-pointers, and 9-of-10 (90.0%) on free throws. Additionally, the team recorded 26 assists while having just seven turnovers.
"I feel like everybody came out with a mindset that enough was enough," Sabonis said. "We just needed to get a win, no matter how it was...we just really focused on getting everybody involve."
There was no answer from the Pistons for Domantas Sabonis, who finished with a game-high 26 points and added eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and two steals to go along with. The Pacers outscored Detroit by a 22-point margin when Sabonis was on the court.
While Sabonis had a strong outing, there was plenty of support. The Pacers also received double-figure scoring from Malcolm Brogdon (18), Jeremy Lamb (17), Myles Turner (14), and Justin Holiday (11). The improvement in ball movement had a positive impact for many key players, translating to strongly improved scoring production.
The Pacers will return to action on Saturday when they take on the Atlanta Hawks.