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Pacers stifle Pistons to end losing streak

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- All it took was a return trip home for the Indiana Pacers to get back on track.

The Pacers ended their three-game losing with a comfortable 98-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday. The Pacers have won 12 straight games at home.

"Proud of our guys for coming off the West Coast trip, a tough trip and taking care of business at home," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "I thought we played with an edge you needed when on a losing streak, especially in the first half, building an 18-point lead going into halftime."

Wednesday marked the ninth time this season that the Pacers held an opponent under 80 points. Detroit shot 36 percent from the field.

"We just wanted to play hard from the start," Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. "We just made sure we contested everything and make them shoot outside shots, contest outside shots."

The Pacers caught Detroit at the right time. The struggling Pistons were shorthanded after they took part in a three-team trade earlier in the day. The Pistons sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Pistons acquired point guard Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors.

"Trading a player like Prince, who has meant so much to our organization and contributed to our championship success is never easy," Pistons general manager Joe Dumars said. "We want to thank Tayshaun for his professionalism and contributions over the last 10 years."

The Pacers didn't show the Pistons any sympathy for being short bodies, either. They led by as many as 23 points.

Hibbert led the Pacers with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Shooting guard Lance Stephenson recorded his first double-double when he had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists before leaving late in the fourth quarter with a slightly sprained left ankle.

Center Greg Monroe scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Pistons, who have dropped two straight games.

"We had a meeting last week when (Stephenson) had a couple of poor games at Portland and at Utah," Vogel said. "Really talked about his value on the team. He's not a guy filling in for somebody. He's a big reason for our success on both ends of the court. He's at his best in the open court. He's a freight train."

The Pacers broke the game open in the second quarter when they closed the first half on an 18-2 run to take a 54-36 lead into the locker room.

They never looked back after that.

The Pistons never got any closer than 14 points the rest of the game and Vogel was able to empty his bench late in the fourth quarter so that his starters could rest up for Friday's nationally televised game against the Miami Heat.

NOTES: The Pacers are still holding out hope that injured small forward Danny Granger (knee) will return to the lineup before the All-Star break. But they're also open to having him sit out until after the break if he's not 100-percent healthy. The Pacers want to make sure they have their leading scorer the past five years fully healthy for the stretch run of the season when they're jockeying for playoff seeding. Granger has been cleared for everything but contact drills in practice ... Small forward Sam Young, whom the Pacers re-signed earlier this week, was inactive as he continues to work his way back from a sprained ankle, which was the reason why Indiana released him earlier this month ... Rodney Stuckey started in Prince's place for the Pistons ... Wednesday was the start of a stretch where the Pacers play 11 of 13 games at home ... The NBA acknowledged that it made a mistake in the final seconds of the Pacers' one-point loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday. The officials failed to call a foul on Nuggets shooting guard Andre Iguodala when Paul George attempted to drive by him for the game-winning basket. ... George was recognized before the game for being the youngest player in franchise history for becoming an All-Star.
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