The Indiana Pacers hope to continue their success against the Detroit Piston in the Motor City on Tuesday night. The Pacers out-paced (Ed. note: Are you trying to get fired with that pun, Zach?) the Pistons four times last season and have won five straight dating back to the 2011-2012 season.
Two days removed from a 10 point victory over the Boston Celtics Detroit’s offseason acquisitions will continue the chemistry building process, the team has playoff aspirations this season. Indiana, however, has more important things on their mind in terms of post-season success.
“We’re competing for a one seed,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel told the team’s official website. “We said from the opening day of training camp, that’s what we’re going after.
Brandon Jennings returned after suffering a hairline fracture to the jaw on Sunday night, he had four assists and scored 14 points at home against the Celtics. Josh Smith is averaging 17 points a game and continues to shoot three-point shots despite struggling from downtown. He’s shooting a mere 28 percent from behind-the-arc through three games this season. Jennings and Smith were the summer’s big names acquired by Detroit during the offseason, but it’s Andre Drummond who leads the team in scoring with 18 points per game.
For the Pacers, it’s about staying focused towards the next step after falling to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Paul George, who emerged as one of the leagues up-and-coming superstars during the postseason, continues potential MVP form — scoring 26ppg, shooting over 50 percent from inside the three-point arc and 44 percent from long-distance.
Because of the preseason injury to Danny Granger, Lance Stephenson has seen extended playing time for the Pacers and he’s made the most of every minute of the floor. Stephenson is second among the team in ppg with 19 and is shooting a ridiculous 64 percent from three-point range.
The Pistons frontcourt of Drummond and Greg Monroe are excellent getting up and down the floor in transition, Jennings also likes to play fast and Smith, known as J-Smoove, is never afraid of attempting to make the highlight reel. The Pistons rank seventh in the league in offensive rating but have their work cut out for them against the NBA’s best defensive team thus far season. The Pacers have a defensive rating of 88.5.
With a revamped roster and reason to be hopeful in Detroit, the Pistons hope to knock off one of the Eastern Conference foes in the Palace of Auburn hills tonight — tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 EST.