Dec 16, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) and forward Luis Scola (4) block a shot taken by Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Detroit defeats Indiana 101-96. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons

Indiana Pacers (48-17) at Detroit Pistons (25-40)


Location: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
Tip: 7:30 p.m. EDT
TV: Check local listings
Line: IND -5.0


Coming off a feel-good win Friday night in Philadelphia, the Indiana Pacers travel to Auburn Hills, Michigan to take on the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time tonight.

Indiana defeated the 76ers Friday, 101-94. Despite holding a double-digit lead multiple times against Philly, the Sixers rallied late and made it a game with a little more than two minutes remaining. Playing desperate they were, as Philadelphia was riding an 18-game losing streak into Friday’s contest.

The Pacers held on to a late 93-90 advantage before going on a 7-0 run to ultimately close out the game. Veteran forward David West was pleased his team was able to finish a tight game against a scrappy team.

Head coach Frank Vogel and All-Star forward Paul George agreed with West’s comments.

One thing the Indiana Pacers must improve upon, and have needed to improve upon all season, are the turnovers. Taking care of the basketball, as team president Larry Bird has noted, is most important down the stretch and into the playoffs. The Pacers turned the ball over 21 times against the Sixers, including nine in the final 12 minutes.

That will be key against Detroit tonight at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons feature a starting five that matches up very well with Indiana. Two big men — Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe — have consistently presented a challenge for Roy Hibbert and West; so, too, has Josh Smith against George.

Getting the ball into the post, specifically to West, is vital for a Pacers win tonight. Passes into Hibbert should be crisp and direct, as the 7’2″ big man has trouble handling bad passes. George has had problems with feeding the post-up situations since he entered the NBA.

Another key to the game tonight for the Indiana Pacers is locking down defensively and playing at a favorable pace. The Pistons at times will want to get out and run, so Indiana needs to get back in transition defense and control the tempo of the game.

It is the second night of a back-to-back, in which the Pacers have not been as good all season. A close game to the end still favors Indiana, however, with Detroit slumping. Pacers win 104-100.

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