After suffering only their second loss under interim coach Frank Vogel, the Indiana Pacers will look to bounce back against an opponent they’ve dominated recently.
Indiana will try for a seventh consecutive win over the host Detroit Pistons when the teams meet Wednesday night for the first time this season.
The Pacers (24-29) entered Tuesday night 7-1 since Vogel took over for Jim O’Brien on Jan. 30, but allowed a combined 90 points to Miami stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh en route to a 110-103 loss.
Both of Indiana’s defeats under Vogel have come against the star-studded Heat, and the Pacers remain eighth in the Eastern Conference.
“The rest of the season, we’re coming,” said center Roy Hibbert, averaging 17.2 points in his last five games. “We’re not backing down. We’re not having any lackadaisical games. We’re on the prowl. We’re hungry.”
Darren Collison, coming off a 22-point effort in Saturday’s 103-97 win at Milwaukee, scored seven points while shooting 1 of 11 from the floor. Danny Granger had 14 points – well below his team-leading 20.9 average.
Despite the outcome, Vogel was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m proud of our guys,” he said. “This is what I’m talking about when I talk about smashmouth basketball, blood and guts, never quitting. All heart, all hustle.”
Fortunately for Indiana, the Pistons are far from the Heat. Indiana has taken the last six meetings in this series by an average of 10.5 points.
Although the Pistons (20-36) hit their first six 3-pointers and led by as many as 15 in the second quarter Monday night, their home losing streak reached a season-worst four games with a 94-79 defeat to Atlanta. The fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills were not pleased.
“I would have booed too,” forward Charlie Villanueva said. “We were really good early on, but every team in the NBA makes a run, but we didn’t have an answer when they did.”
Detroit, averaging 90.5 points while losing 10 of its last 15, will likely need a better effort offensively if it hopes to keep up with the Pacers, who are averaging 107.1 points in their last nine games.
The Pistons are 1-21 in regulation when giving up at least 100 points.
Detroit’s Richard Hamilton missed his fifth consecutive game with a groin injury Monday and his status is unknown.
Granger is averaging 29.3 points in his last eight meetings with the Pistons, including a 32-point effort in a 98-83 road win March 23.
Indiana’s Brandon Rush, who scored 20 points in that contest, returned Tuesday after missing the previous 10 games with a sprained right ankle. Rush is averaging 10.7 points on the season, but attempted only one shot – a made 3-pointer – in just over eight minutes of action versus the Heat.
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