INDIANAPOLIS -- You could tell it was going to be a long night for the Pistons early Friday night.
The Pacers' first eight buckets came within 5 feet of the basket as they raced to a 21-8 lead in the first 7 minutes.
The Pacers finished with 52 points in the paint (10 dunks) as they got their second consecutive blowout victory following the All-Star break, a 114-82 thumping of the Pistons (22-35).
It was a thorough dismantling -- reminiscent of the 34-point beat-down the Pacers put on the Knicks on Wednesday night to get the second part of the season started.
Although the Pacers (34-21) are showing everybody that they are capable of mounting a serious challenge against the Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy, an angry Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said the effort was unacceptable.
"We got our (butts) handed to us," Frank said. "I mean, that was a total embarrassment. You know what Indiana is all about. They blitzkrieged New York; they just blitzkrieged us. There's no surprises about what they did. What they put into the game, the purpose they played with, the effort, the physicality, the passion . . . no, no."
The lead grew steadily throughout the night as the Pistons' interior defense was a sieve. Roy Hibbert and David West combined for 28 points and 14 rebounds.
Greg Monroe particularly struggled mightily protecting the paint. Frank saw enough at the 8:20 mark of the third quarter, pulling Monroe. He was done for the night with five points and four rebounds. He had a terse verbal exchange with Frank as he left and declined comment after the game.
But it was coming from everywhere as the Pacers rained 10 three-pointers once the interior was softened. Orlando Johnson came off the bench to go 5-for-5 (three triples) in the first half to score 14 points.
Frank routinely would see a defensive lapse and yank the offending player, but the substitution seldom made things better. And the league's No. 1 defense had little trouble with the Pistons, who shot 35.4 percent. Frank substituted liberally, trying to find anyone who would answer the call. Rookies Slava Kravtsov, Khris Middleton and Kim English received extensive playing time. Middleton was the only Piston not to play in the first quarter. He said Kravtsov was the only guy to give a consistent effort.
"The first quarter we played literally everyone on the floor," Frank said. "Everyone on the bench got a chance in the first quarter. We'll continue to look.
"Kim, Khris, anyone, Slava. We'll continue to look and see who deserves to play."
Frank said earlier this week that there was no such thing as garbage time, but this game was the very definition of it with the Pacers having their own dunk contest. When the final horn sounded and the team walked off the floor, Frank wore perhaps the most disgusted look of his short Pistons tenure.
By far the most entertaining moment was during a time-out in the fourth quarter when the crowd was amazed by a monkey riding a dog.
But the Pistons have a rare opportunity. They get another crack at their tormentors tonight at the Palace.
"It's easy to explain, really," Jose Calderon said. "When you don't play any defense and you don't make any shots, especially against a good team like Indiana, you get beat by 30 . . .
"The good thing is that we play them again tomorrow night."
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