Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey (3) tries to stay with Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, right, during the first half.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Paul George scored 31 points, and the Indiana Pacers remained the NBA’s only unbeaten team with a 99-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
The Pacers matched their best start in franchise history. They are 4-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Indiana blew a 15-point lead in the first half but took control again with a strong third quarter.
C.J. Watson had 15 points and David West finished with 12 for the Pacers.
Brandon Jennings scored 17 points for the Pistons, who were done in by their 5-for-25 shooting from 3-point range.
Detroit led 44-40 early in the third quarter before the Pacers went on a 15-2 run capped by an alley-oop to George. He scored 14 points in the quarter, and Indiana led 74-63 entering the fourth.
Detroit cut the deficit to four early in the final period, but Indiana responded with six straight points to lead 82-72. The Pacers stretched the lead to 19 at 94-75 before the Pistons rallied in the final minutes to make the final score more respectable.
It was 96-91 after Detroit’s Kyle Singler made two free throws with 32.6 seconds left, but the Pacers broke Detroit’s pressure and the Pistons didn’t foul. West made a layup with 16.6 seconds left.
The Pacers have won six straight over the Pistons, and the previous three wins had been lopsided, by 19, 32 and 18 points.
The Pacers were without George Hill (sore left hip) for a second straight game, and Danny Granger is still out with a strained left calf, but they’ve been holding teams to progressively lower field-goal percentages through this undefeated start. Detroit finished at 38 percent and could not overcome its poor showing from the perimeter.
George made his first five shots and finished the first quarter with 12 points, helping the Pacers to a 29-14 lead. Then they were outscored 27-9 in the second.
Jennings made his first start for the Pistons in his second game with his new team. He was injured for the first two games of the season, and Detroit looked out of sorts offensively Tuesday.
Josh Smith, another new acquisition this season for Detroit, scored 16 points but shot 5 of 16. He went 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Indiana will try to extend its unbeaten run Wednesday night against Chicago.
NOTES: Indiana also started 4-0 in 1989-90, according to STATS. ... Detroit’s starting backcourt of Jennings and Chauncey Billups went 8 for 25, including 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.