By Jim Johnson, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Detroit Pistons played in shock while their former teammates watched from the locker room.
Just before tipoff at Indiana, forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye found out they wouldn’t play for the Pistons again.
“Shocked obviously,” Prince said after the game. “I didn’t find out, obviously, until I got here. I’m shocked, but it’s a business and you never know what’s going to happen.”
What happened is after 10½ seasons with the Pistons, including an NBA championship, Prince is being traded along with Daye to Memphis.
Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Indiana to a 98-79 win over Detroit on Wednesday night, snapping a three-game skid in the Pacers’ return from a four-game road trip.
David West scored 14 points and Lance Stephenson added 12 points and 11 boards for the Pacers.
Greg Monroe had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Rodney Stuckey scored 14 points for the Pistons, who have lost four of the last five.
Prince and Daye, listed as inactive before the game, are part of the three-team trade that will send them to the Grizzlies, with Jose Calderon coming to the Pacers from Toronto and Memphis sending Rudy Gay to the Raptors.
“(Pistons President Joe Dumars) felt horrible that it had to be right before the game,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “This is the tough part of the business.”
Frank got a call from Dumars about the trade before the game started while Prince, Daye and teammates learned of the trade before tipoff.
“I knew this would be a tough game for them to play today,” Prince said. “I’ve been in situations before where guys got traded and it’s tough to go out there and play that game. Now it’s time to move on to the next page, the next chapter and make the best out of it.”
Stephenson scored eight points as the Pacers went on an 18-2 run in the second quarter to take a 54-36 lead at halftime.
“I’m proud of our guys coming back off a trip and taking care of business,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We had an edge which is important when you have a losing streak.”
The Pistons had to find a way to make up for the difference. Prince started every game this season and averaged 11.3 points. Still, they couldn’t withstand Indiana’s second quarter run.
“They did a good job of getting a lead early,” Monroe said. “We were able to fight back and make a few runs at them. I was proud of our effort in doing that.”
The Pacers led 29-23 at the end of the first quarter, but the Pistons got back to within two points midway through the second quarter when Will Bynum hit a jumper to make it 36-34 before the Pacers went on a run.
Stephenson had a layup to start the 18-2 run and hit a 3-pointer after Hibbert made two free throws. West and Hibbert had baskets to put the Pacers up 47-34 with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Stephenson added a layup and then had a steal and was fouled by Monroe. Stephenson made 1 of 2 free throws before Hibbert scored to give the Pacers their 18-point lead at the break.
The Pacers edge didn’t come from playing an emotionally stricken Pistons team, they were simply frustrated with the three losses on the road.
“To be honest with you, we came in here and weren’t happy about the losses we got on the road,” Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough said. “We just figured a way out to get the win, and that was defensively.”
The Pacers jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game. West scored twice along with Stephenson and Hibbert.
The Pistons missed six straight shots and two free throws before they finally got on the board with a free throw by Brandon Knight on a defensive 3-second technical and then Stuckey scored to make it 6-3.
The Pacers pulled away again and went on an 8-0 run.
West and Stephenson scored again and Hill hit a 3-pointer and later a free throw to make it 14-7 midway through the first quarter.
Stuckey, who scored 12 points in the first quarter, ended the run with a shot to put the Pistons back within seven. Hibbert dunked, but Stuckey answered with another shot.
Later he hit a 3-pointer to pull the Pistons to 24-21.
The Pistons made a run in the third quarter, but never cut the deficit below nine points.
Hibbert scored early in the third before the Pistons went on a 9-2 run.
NOTES: Pacers president Donnie Walsh said Indiana hasn’t been involved in talks with center Greg Oden as reported and that the team hasn’t been approached. … Pacers forward Paul George was recognized before the game for being the youngest player in franchise history for becoming an All-Star. … Kyle Singler started in place of Prince, who was with the Pistons since the 2002-03 season.
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