Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy knew that a portion of the schedule filled with road games would provide a real test for his fast-starting squad. The Pistons failed the first section of that test and will try to rebound when they continue a three-game road trip at the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
After sweeping five straight at home to run its record to 10-3, Detroit began a span in which it plays nine of 11 on the road with a 99-95 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Bucks blocked 16 shots and held the Pistons to 35.3 percent from the field, including a combined 4-of-18 by point guards Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith. “That’s the game right there, absolutely,” Van Gundy told reporters of the blocked shots. “That’s 16 opportunities you don’t even get the ball up on the rim. When you look at the stat sheet, it’s really hard to figure out how the game was close. ... It was a frustrating night. We really didn’t do anything well. I couldn’t find any offense to run to help us.” The Pacers, who were one of Detroit’s five victims during its recent 5-0 homestand, won 116-113 at Memphis on Wednesday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, FS Indiana
ABOUT THE PISTONS (10-4): Guard Avery Bradley was one of the only Detroit players to find an offensive rhythm on Wednesday, finishing with a season-high 28 points while making 6-of-10 3-pointers. The defensive stalwart is averaging 22.2 points while hitting 48.6 percent of his long-range attempts in six games this month, with his 14-point effort against Indiana the only one of the bunch in which he fell shy of 20. Rookie Luke Kennard continued to earn more playing time and finished with 11 points in 13 minutes off the bench.
ABOUT THE PACERS (7-8): Veteran point guard Darren Collison averaged eight points on 36.5 percent shooting during Indiana’s recent 1-5 swoon, but his ability to break out of the slump was the catalyst Wednesday night. “I didn’t want to make any excuses, but my knee actually felt great today,” Collison told reporters after producing a season-high 30 points. “It’s something that has been affecting me like the last week-and-a-half.” The Pacers nearly coughed up a 17-point lead in the final nine minutes, prompting coach Nate McMillan to say that they “played three solid quarters of good basketball.”
1. Pistons SF Tobias Harris made five 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in the win over the Pacers last week.
2. Indiana SG Victor Oladipo scored 21 points Wednesday and has a season high-tying four straight games of at least 20 points.
3. The Pacers won five straight meetings at home.
PREDICTION: Pistons 107, Pacers 105