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News » Pistons 100, Pacers 94

Pistons 100, Pacers 94

Pistons 100, Pacers 94
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Michael Curry wants the Detroit Pistons to project a new image, consistently attacking on offense and playing hard on defense.

After Game One, it's a work in progress.

The Detroit Pistons played well enough to build big leads only to allow the Indiana Pacers to rally before beating them 100-94 Wednesday night in the opener for both teams.

Curry, though, can't fault the effort he saw in his debut as a head coach.

"If you get a big lead, NBA teams are going to come back on you because they're too good," Curry said. "The key is minimizing their runs and we did that."

Tayshaun Prince had 19 points, Richard Hamilton scored 15, Chauncey Billups added 13 points and seven assists, and Walter Herrmann had 10 points to help Detroit's reserves easily outscore their counterparts.

Danny Granger led the new-look Pacers with 33 points and got some help from new teammates T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack and Rasho Nesterovic.

Indiana had seven more turnovers and nine fewer offensive rebounds than Detroit.

"The difference in the game was the turnover differential and the offensive glass," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We shot 50 percent and we got to the line 13 times more than they did, but we shot ourselves in the foot."

Just eight of the 15 players on Indiana's opening-night roster were on the team at the end of last season.

The Pistons planned to shake up their core - which helped them win a championship in 2004 and advance to six straight Eastern Conference finals - but they ended up standing pat and counting on Curry along with an influx of youth to take them back to the NBA finals.

Expectations are relatively low for Detroit after getting eliminated in Game 6 of conference finals the past three seasons.

The Pistons have provided fodder for doubters with inconsistent play and arrogant attitudes that have stunted their potential.

"We've earned the right for people to ask, 'Has this team made their last run?' We've earned the right (for people) to ask if we're going to be able to get it with the few changes we've made," Curry said. "We have to reassure ourselves, first and foremost."

The Pistons pulled away with a 20-6 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to build an 80-64 lead.

But they seemed to relax, letting their opponents back in the game, as they did under former coaches Flip Saunders, Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle during the previous seven seasons.

Indiana went on a 13-2 run to pull within five points midway through the fourth.

Granger's 3-pointer pulled the Pacers within four points with 24 seconds left, but they couldn't get closer.

"That is a really good team and we did a good job of hanging with them and withstanding their pressure," Granger said. "We made too many mistakes to win, but we know those are things we can improve."

Saunders was fired in June and was replaced by Curry, one of his assistants who had only a year of coaching experience.

The Pistons signed the game ball and planned to present it to Curry.

"It's great, we congratulated M.C., but we're looking to get many more," Billups said.

Troy Murphy had 13 points and 15 rebounds and Marquis Daniels scored 12 points for Indiana. In their debut with the Pacers, Ford scored 10 points, Jack had nine, Nesterovic eight and first-round picks Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert added seven and two points, respectively.

The Pacers were without Mike Dunleavy, who is out with tendinitis in his right knee. He went through some pregame warmups and might be ready to play in a couple of weeks.

They have revamped their roster in the wake of the 2004 brawl at The Palace with the Pistons and fans, wanting to improve their image in Indianapolis and perhaps challenge for a spot in the playoffs after missing them in consecutive years for the first time in two decades.

Amir Johnson, a 21-year-old forward in his fourth NBA season, started his first NBA game and had six points, six rebounds and three blocks.

He joined four starters, who began a game together for the 294th time in the regular season.

Since the 1991-92 season, only Indiana's quartet of Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Rik Smits and Dale Davis started more regular season games together. Those Pacers started together 320 times from 1994-95 to 1999-2000.

"They've got Amir Johnson out there with four All-Stars, so it is a lot easier for them to absorb any growing pains," O'Brien said.

Notes: The Pistons have offered Jason Maxiell a $20 million, four-year contract, but he is expected to leave the deal on the table before Friday's deadline to test the market as a free agent next summer. ... PG Jamaal Tinsley is technically still a Pacer, but he's in Atlanta waiting for the franchise to trade him.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 30, 2008


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