Professional Game Coverage: Indiana 106, Detroit 102

Detroit News

Pistons’ win streak ends at three,” by Chris McCosky

In one bad loss to a lottery-bound team, the Pistons went from thinking about stealing the fifth spot in the East to being almost resigned to the eighth spot.

“There is no worst-case scenario for us right now,” said Tayshaun Prince, after the Pistons’ fourth-quarter rally fell short in a 106-102 loss to the Pacers Saturday. “The way we’ve played all year, the best-case scenario is that we got into the playoffs. Hopefully we can go in there and do some damage.”

The loss means the Pistons have to beat Chicago Monday and Miami Wednesday to avoid finishing eighth and facing Cleveland in the first round.

Post-up strategy doesn’t work,” by Chris McCosky

The Pistons wanted to post up Indiana’s small guards. No way could T.J. Ford, at 5-foot-10, guard Richard Hamilton, at 6-7, right?

Wrong.

The Pistons tried to force the ball into Hamilton on most of the possessions of the third quarter and the end result was a 3 for 12 shooting quarter by Hamilton, a stagnated Pistons offense, and a flurry of 3-pointers by the Pacers that put the Pistons in a 12-point hole early in the fourth quarter of their 106-102 loss Saturday.

“We wanted to post because it helps us tempo the game,” coach Michael Curry said. “They are coming into the game trying to score 110 or more and we had it down around 100. We will take that.”

Sound theory, but it failed in practice.

Detroit Free Press

With loss, Pistons inch closer to first-round series against LeBron, Cavs,” by Vince Ellis

Another sterling effort from Bynum was wasted. The backup point guard either scored or assisted on 18 of the Pistons’ last 22 points. He finished with 16 points, six assists and even grabbed four rebounds as starting point guard Rodney Stuckey spent the entire fourth quarter on the bench.

Pacers’ speedy point guards give Pistons fits,” by Vince Ellis

Indiana used two point guards – Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford — exclusively in the fourth quarter, and the Pistons had problems defensively down the stretch falling, 106-102, at Conseco Fieldhouse.

In the fourth quarter the duo combined for 14 points and four assists as the Pacers (35-45) scored 28 points to hold off a Pistons’ (39-41) comeback. They finished with a combined 36 points and 11 assists.

Team has tools to win — strong bench, postseason experience,” by Vince Ellis

The Pistons have a 5-6 record against Cleveland, Boston and Orlando, although that’s inflated by their 3-0 record vs. the Magic. But all three are the type of teams the Pistons have had success against this season — teams with size.

That’s because the Pistons are a big team with 6-foot-11 Rasheed Wallace, 6-11 Kwame Brown and frontcourt strongmen AntonioMcDyess and Jason Maxiell.

Instant replay,” by Vince Ellis

Wallace picked up his 17th technical foul of the season. If he gets another in the last two games, he earns a one-game suspension. Luckily, the clock resets for the postseason.

Booth Newspapers

Pistons lose battle of boards, fall to Indiana,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

On the opening tipoff, the Indiana Pacers got four shots at the basket before they scored.

It would serve as an omen for what the Detroit Pistons were in store for Saturday, as Indiana’s dominance on the offensive boards in the first half played a major role in Detroit’s 106-102 loss.

The Pistons gave up 14 offensive rebounds in the first half, which led to 22 points for the Pacers.

Pistons still looking to improve as playoffs near,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

O’Brien spent a season coaching Allen Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers coach knows how talented Iverson is, and he also realizes it’s difficult to mix a player of his skill set with a veteran Pistons team.

O’Brien said he wasn’t surprised that Iverson didn’t mesh well with the Pistons after he was traded from Denver to Detroit for Chauncey Billups last November.

“It’s like oil and water, absolutely,” O’Brien said.

Iverson averaged 17.4 points and 4.9 assists in 54 games with Detroit.

Team officials shut him down the rest of the season earlier this month so he could rest his injured back. The announcement came days after Iverson said he’d “rather retire” than come off the bench.

“I’m not surprised,” O’Brien said when asked about the Iverson experiment not working out. “He’s a great player when the lights come on, but I think to be in a situation where they put Rip Hamilton on the bench, it caused some challenges.”

The Indianapolis Star

Jarret Jack leads spirited effort for Pacers,” by Mike Wells

The standings say the Indiana Pacers already have been eliminated from making the playoffs.

They don’t seem to care. They are playing like a postseason spot is still on the line.

The Pacers responded from blowing a double-digit lead earlier in the fourth quarter to beat the playoff-bound Detroit Pistons 106-102 Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

“Like I’ve been saying, the commitment you make as an NBA player is you play 82 games, regardless if you’re playing for the playoffs or you’re not in the playoffs,” Pacers guard Jarrett Jack said. “You go about it in a professional manner, and I think that’s what everybody is doing.”

O’Brien wants Jack, Ford back,” by Mike Wells

O’Brien spent a season coaching Allen Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers coach knows how talented Iverson is, and he also realizes it’s difficult to mix a player of his skill set with a veteran Pistons team.

O’Brien said he wasn’t surprised that Iverson didn’t mesh well with the Pistons after he was traded from Denver to Detroit for Chauncey Billups last November.

“It’s like oil and water, absolutely,” O’Brien said.

Iverson averaged 17.4 points and 4.9 assists in 54 games with Detroit.

Team officials shut him down the rest of the season earlier this month so he could rest his injured back. The announcement came days after Iverson said he’d “rather retire” than come off the bench.

“I’m not surprised,” O’Brien said when asked about the Iverson experiment not working out. “He’s a great player when the lights come on, but I think to be in a situation where they put Rip Hamilton on the bench, it caused some challenges.”