Pacers avoid letdown, crush Pistons
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers had no interest in having a letdown against the struggling Detroit Pistons.
The Pacers made sure that wasn't going to happen when they jumped on the Pistons right from the start and never stopped on their way to a 114-82 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday.
That win followed a 34-point victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Power forward David West led all five Pacers starters in double figures with 18 points and eight rebounds. All-Star Paul George added 12 points and seven rebounds. Rookie Orlando Johnson came off the bench to add 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 on 3-pointers.
Guard Will Bynum had 17 points for Detroit.
The Pacers have not trailed in the last 10 quarter.
"I'm very, very pleased with how our guys are approaching the post All-Star break," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They have incredible focus and energy. Our offense is really coming."
The victory, combined with New York's loss to Toronto, moved the Pacers into the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers shot 56 percent from the field and had 29 assists, both of which were season highs for them. They had eight players with at least two assists.
"We've been playing extremely hard," Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. "We're taking this thing very seriously. We've been sharing the ball and just being good teammates."
The Pacers wanted to make sure the Pistons never thought they had a chance to pull off the upset.
They accomplished that by scoring 13 of the first 15 points, with center Roy Hibbert having two dunks, then adding an assist to George Hill, who completed a three-point play.
The Pacers never let up on the throttle after that. They pushed their lead to 19 by late in the first quarter and had their biggest lead of the half -- 60-32 -- on a follow dunk by Johnson.
"It's easy to explain really, when you don't play any defense and you don't make any shots, especially against a good team like Indiana, you get beat by 30, just like what happened to the New York Knicks the other night," Pistons point guard Jose Calderon said. "You have to keep fighting when you get down 15 or 20 points, but when you have turnovers like we had and then some threes, the lead gets up to 25 or more."
The Pacers had their second 30-point quarter of the game in the third period, when they outscored the Pistons 30-16. Indiana got its biggest lead of the game, 88-48, on a George 3-pointer in the corner.
Vogel had a rare opportunity to empty his bench at the end of the third quarter with his team up by 38 points.
"Look, we got our (butt) handed to us," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "I mean, it was a total embarrassment. You know with Indiana it's all about blitzkrieg. They blitzkrieged New York, who blitzkrieged us. There is no surprise about what they did."
NOTES: Indiana small forward Danny Granger (knee) might make his season debut on Saturday when the two teams play again in Detroit. "He's cleared to play, but we're not going to throw him out there if he's not sharp," Vogel said . . . As expected, the Pacers didn't make a move prior to Thursday's NBA trade deadline. They believe Granger's return will be their midseason move. "We have one of the best players coming back that you can possibly get," Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. . . .The Pistons made their trade in late January when they acquired point guard Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors . . . Pistons guard Brandon Knight missed Friday's game with a hyper-extended right knee...The Pacers are 6-2 when all five starters score in double figures. . . . The Pacers are 30-14 since starting the season 4-7.
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