AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Lawrence Frank had a big smile and two important guests at his postgame press conference Saturday night.
''Welcome to Detroit, girls,'' he said.
Frank hadn't won a game since April 13, 2009, when his Nets beat the Charlotte Bobcats. The Nets lost their final game that season, and Frank was fired after New Jersey got off to a 0-16 start the next fall. He also lost his first three games with the Pistons since replacing John Kuester during the offseason.
''I'm all about breaking records,'' joked Frank, who was tied for the fifth-longest losing streak in NBA history. ''But I'm really glad to see this team get some reward for their hard work. It was never about me. I wanted a win for our team.''
Frank got a lot of help from an unlikely source - Jonas Jerebko.
The Swede, who missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles' tendon in the preseason, had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
''I played smart tonight, and I hit my shots,'' said Jerebko, who narrowly missed his career bests of 22 points and 13 boards. ''I always knew I could do this.''
Greg Monroe added 19 points and 11 rebounds as a tiny crowd got a look at what Detroit hopes will be their post pairing for the future.
''It's great playing with Greg,'' Jerebko said. ''He was a rookie last year and I was hurt, so we're still getting used to each other's games, but once we get that time together, it is going to be great.''
The Pistons got a scare with 2:58 left when Monroe and Rodney Stuckey collided going for a loose ball. Both needed attention from the training staff, but stayed in the game after the ensuing timeout.
''I saw Stuck going for the ball, but I thought I could miss him,'' said Monroe, who outweighs Stuckey by 45 pounds. ''We both wanted to get back in there, because we weren't going to be denied this victory.''
Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill each had 16 points off the bench for the Pacers, who lost for the first time in four games this season.
''Hats off to Detroit,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ''Jerebko and Monroe outplayed our front court, and we didn't execute well offensively.''
Both teams played Friday night, but the Pacers seemed drained by their overtime victory over Cleveland, while the Pistons bounced back from a loss in Boston.
''You can make excuses about playing three games in four nights or whatever, but we just didn't show up,'' Hansbrough said. ''Right from the start, we were sluggish and slow.''
Jerebko had 16 points in the first half to help Detroit to a 52-44 lead. The Pistons, who struggled badly in the third quarter a year ago, came out strong against the Pacers and moved the advantage to 82-64 with 12 minutes left.
Detroit got sloppy down the stretch, allowing the Pacers to get within six, but Jerebko had a key steal in the final minute to prevent a dramatic finish.
''Jonas was great tonight,'' Frank said. ''The key was that every shot he made in the first half came in the rhythm of the offense - that's what we needed.''
NOTES: The Pacers were whistled for two defensive three-second technicals in a span of three first-quarter possessions. ... Byron Scott has the record with a 26-game losing streak with Cleveland, while Brian Winters (23), Bill Hanzlik (23) and Bill Musselman (22 have also had longer skids than Frank. Only Musselman's streak spanned two teams. ... Charlie Villanueva, who sat out the first three games of the year to finish off a suspension, did not play on Saturday. Frank said before the game that Villanueva had been limited in practice by a minor injury.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- Lawrence Frank
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers