Harris, Pistons pound Pacers
DETROIT — Tobias Harris made his first shot attempt, a 3-pointer, a little over a minute into the game on Tuesday. That was enough to convince the Detroit Pistons forward he was going to have a strong offensive showing.
“Any time I make my first shot,” he said, “I think I’ve got the hot hand.”
Harris never cooled down, scoring 26 of his 30 points in the first half, and the Pistons won for the fifth time in six games, thumping the Indiana Pacers 107-83 at Little Caesars Arena.
Harris made all but one of his 11 field-goal attempts in 29 minutes. He had 21 points in the opening quarter, when the Pistons established a 21-point lead. Detroit maintained a double-digit advantage most of the way.
“Throughout the game, I was getting some good looks, open looks,” said Harris, who drained a career-high seven 3-pointers. “I just didn’t want to rush any or take any bad shots. I wanted to keep us playing in a good flow because I thought we were really moving the ball well.”
Andre Drummond supplied 21 points and 18 rebounds for the Pistons, who never trailed. Ish Smith added 12 points and Reggie Bullock chipped in 11.
Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson sprained his right ankle during the third quarter and immediately went down to the court in severe pain. He couldn’t put any pressure on the leg and was helped to the locker room by the team’s medical staff. Jackson had eight points and a season-high 13 assists prior to the injury.
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said X-rays on Jackson’s ankle were negative. Jackson will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
“That was tough, to see my guy go down like that,” Drummond said. “He’ll be OK. It’s not as bad as we thought it was.”
Victor Oladipo, who came into the game averaging 25.3 points, scored a season-low 13 points for Indiana (19-15).
“Our goal was to make him as uncomfortable as possible,” Drummond said. “Reggie Bullock did an excellent job of really getting into him, making it tough for him. In the pick-and-rolls, I got up and made sure he didn’t get any pull-up threes. So, he had to shoot contested twos and contested layups.”
Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis added 10 points apiece for the Pacers.
“We’re going to have to be better,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan, whose team scored a season low on points. “We might have to look at some changes, but we certainly have to be better, whichever group we have out there.”
McMillan and Oladipo were at a loss as to why the team got off to such a slow start.
“We have to figure something out and we’ve got to do it fast,” Oladipo said. “Teams are coming ready to play, so we’ve got to be ready to play too. We’ve just got to do a better job of being ready from the start.”
Harris carried Detroit (19-14) to a 58-45 halftime lead.
The Pistons tied their highest-scoring quarter of the season while jumping to a 40-19 lead. Detroit recorded 14 assists on 15 baskets in the quarter, with Jackson distributing half of them.
With the Pistons’ second unit on the floor, the Pacers chipped away and eventually pulled within eight. Detroit nudged the lead back to 13 by halftime as Harris made another jumper in the final minute.
The Pistons led by as much as 12 early in the third and were up 72-55 when they called a timeout after Jackson’s injury. Detroit brought an 82-66 lead into the fourth quarter, and the Pacers couldn’t muster a run.
NOTES: Pistons SG Avery Bradley missed his fifth consecutive game due to a right groin injury. ... The Pistons are 10-0 at home when leading after three quarters. ... Indiana SG Victor Oladipo ranks No. 6 in the league in scoring after being traded from Oklahoma City during the offseason. “It’s mainly opportunity,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He shot it well last year but with (Russell) Westbrook, (Oladipo) was playing off the ball virtually all of the time. This is the first time he’s really gotten a chance to be the guy, undisputed, where the ball is in his hands all the time.” ... Detroit won the season series 3-1. ... Pistons PG Dwight Buycks appeared in his first NBA game since playing six games with the Los Angeles Lakers for six games during the 2014-15 season. He did not score in two minutes of action.