Pistons Snap Losing Streak

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons thought they were going to do it again.
After leading the Indiana Pacers by 10 points late in the third quarter, the slumping Pistons found themselves down 103-101 in the final four minutes.
But instead of losing after they led by double digits for the third time in four games and taking their fifth loss in six games overall, the Pistons rallied to beat Indiana 114-110.
"It was like deja vu all over again," said Allen Iverson, who finished with 17 points and 12 assists. "We blew the big lead against the Sixers and again against the Wizards, and this could have been the third one tonight, but we buckled down and did what we needed to do to win the game."
The Pistons needed to overcome a career-high 42 points from Danny Granger, but gave the Pacers a fifth straight loss when Tayshaun Prince got a fingertip on T.J. Ford's attempt at a game-tying jumper in the final seconds.
"I don't know what to tell you," Granger said. "This is very agonizing, because we watch the films and work on stuff, and then we go out and do the same thing to lose the game."
Pistons coach Michael Curry wasn't surprised his team ended its slump with a tough victory.
"In all my years around this league, I've always seen that when you are struggling, there's never a great game that breaks you out of it," he said. "It's always a grind-it-out game like this one, and then you can breathe a sigh of relief."
The game was Detroit's second with its latest identity. Antonio McDyess had 14 points after re-signing with the team earlier in the week, and a new smaller lineup helped the Pistons shoot 56 percent. Iverson, Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey combined for 66 points and 25 assists in the three-guard setup.
"The system runs a little smoother with Stuck at the point, because that's his natural position, and it lets me go back to playing the 2-guard," Iverson said. "With Rip at the 3, Tayshaun at the 4 and Rasheed (Wallace) at the 5, it makes us so much quicker."
Detroit, though, has struggled defensively with the new lineup. After allowing 107 points to the Wizards, they let the Pacers shoot 57 percent.
"Indiana has a very explosive offensive team, and we knew they would be tough to stop," Curry said. "What was key for us was the times we were able to make multiple-effort defensive plays and get stops."
After scoring 15 points in the first half, Granger had 27 in the last two quarters.
"It was a brilliant offensive performance," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "He put together a great game."
Both teams shot over 60 percent in a fast-paced first half, but the Pistons forced 12 turnovers on their way to a 63-57 halftime lead.
Detroit was up by as many as 11 in the third, and led 86-80 going into the fourth.
Granger, though, hit a jumper to tie the score at 88 with 8:39 left, and the teams traded the advantage down the stretch.
Wallace, who hadn't scored in the first three quarters, gave the Pistons a 104-103 lead with 2:39 left, and Detroit followed up by forcing a 24-second violation at the other end.
After a free throw by Iverson and an Indiana miss, Hamilton's jumper put the Pistons ahead four.
Granger's 3-pointer pulled the Pacers within a point with 27 seconds to go, and Hamilton's missed free throw left Detroit with just a 112-110 lead with 8 seconds to go.
Ford, though, couldn't get a short jumper over Prince's long arms, and Arron Afflalo clinched the game with a pair from the line.
"We knew we could get a good shot with Ford at the end, but they stuck with us and the shot didn't fall," O'Brien said. "We lost tonight, but we've got another game tomorrow. That's the only way to look at it."


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