Pistons head into All-Star break hoping to avoid winless homestand

Essentials

Teams: Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons

Date: Feb. 16, 2011

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 20-36

Pacers: 24-29

Probable starters

Pistons:

Pacers:

  • Darren Collison
  • Mike Dunleavy
  • Danny Granger
  • Josh McRoberts
  • Roy Hibbert

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +1.0

Over/under: 199.5

Score: Pacers win, 100.25-99.25

Three things to watch

1.  Pacers pulling away

After going into a prolonged slump under a coach who had seemingly lost the respect of the team in Jim O’Brien, the Pacers made a change. They are now a happier, more energetic team, and that’s translating onto the court. The Pacers are 7-2 since Frank Vogel took over as coach, and they’re doing it with an explosive offense. The Pacers have scored more than 100 points in every game that Vogel has coached.

2. Roy Hibbert is back

Hibbert has always given Indiana good minutes vs. the Pistons, averaging 11 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks per game against Detroit in his career. This season, the Pistons are getting their first look at Hibbert at an inopportune time. Hibbert started the season strong, then slumped, and has since bounced back, no doubt partially rejuvenated by the coaching change. He’s averaging more than 17 points per game over his last five, and as LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, Josh Smith, et. al. have taught, the Pistons do not do well against big men who are adept at getting high percentage shots.

3. Paul George, meet T-Mac

During last year’s pre-draft coverage, one name who kept climbing was Paul George. George was billed as a more raw Tracy McGrady clone with his mix of length and athleticism on the perimeter. The rookie has played pretty well for the Pacers this season, And seeing him possibly match up with McGrady is a stark reminder of how time flies: doesn’t it seem way too early to have players coming into the league who are described as “a young Tracy McGrady?”

Pregame Reading