AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Indiana Pacers are 9-2 since Jan. 30, and they've beaten the Pistons three times in that stretch by an average of 20 points.
Saturday night at the Palace, the Pacers' defense literally choked the life out of the Pistons (22-36) in a 90-72 victory. It came on the heels of Friday night's 114-82 romp in Indianapolis.
The Pacers are like a swarm of bees on defense, surrounding and contesting every shot. Rarely did the Pistons take an uncontested jump shot.
The only excitement in the second half was designated troublemaker Tyler Hansbrough having a tussle with Will Bynum (15 points), the smallest Piston, with 8:39 left. Bynum, the only consistent offensive weapon, was assessed a Flagrant 2 and ejected. The league will review the play, and Bynum could face a one-game suspension.
"It wasn't intentional, but it kind of happens throughout the course of the game," Bynum said. "The game was kind of physical. It was during the heat of the moment."
Detroit was 1-for-16 from the field in the first 10 minutes and finished 26-for-77 for 33.8 percent.
The Pacers' offense ran through David West, who had 16 points and eight rebounds, George Hill (17 points) and All-Star Paul George (12 points and 12 rebounds).
"This was a very good lesson for us in terms of what playoff basketball is like," coach Lawrence Frank said. "It's a grind-fest. We shot 6 percent in the first quarter and we're down seven. Normally you shoot 6 percent and you're down 20."
The Pistons managed nine points in the first quarter, but only trailed by seven.
Frank went deep into his bench, putting rookies Kim English and Khris Middleton into the fray along with Bynum, Charlie Villanueva and Slava Kravtsov.
The group turned a 20-9 deficit into a 21-20 lead on a triple by Villanueva, his only basket.
It was Villanueva who showed the fight the Pistons lacked Friday night at Indianapolis.
He picked up a technical foul and two fouls battling West, getting in his face twice and caused West to pick up his own technical in the second quarter of a close game.
The reserves got the Pistons to within 27-26, but when the starters returned, the Pacers scored 12 straight to regain a double-digit lead, 39-26, on two free throws by Roy Hibbert and led, 39-28 at halftime.
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