Indianapolis — All Brandon Jennings needed was a little help at Bankers' Life Fieldhouse, and his incredible solo act would be accompanied by the most important statistic — a victory.
The player who jokingly called himself "a walking 30" at Madison Square Garden dropped a bomb on the Indiana Pacers' home floor with 37 points, as the Pistons won their seventh straight on the road — tying a franchise record — with a 98-96 win Friday, their 10th win in the last 12 games.
Jennings, who hit a career-high eight triples, received help in the form of a well-timed flop from Andre Drummond, who drew an offensive foul on Pacers center Roy Hibbert, then tipped in Jennings' floating miss with 0.3 seconds left — as Drummond spread his arms wide like Jennings did in San Antonio one week ago.
"It was isolate Brandon Jennings and let him get the last shot," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He'd been on fire. I like the play he made, to go on the attack. He got it up high and we got the tip-in."
Drummond was in foul trouble and hadn't made much of an impact on the defensive end, but his 10th offensive rebound of the night proved to be the difference — as Van Gundy likely told his players to "Form a Wall" at the rim afterward, completing a victory that was accomplished with the Pistons shooting just 38 percent and allowing 48 points in the paint.
"I knew he would try to charge at me so I stood there and took the hit," said Drummond, and when it was suggested that perhaps he flopped on Hibbert, he smiled and said, "that's your opinion."
If so, Van Gundy will gladly pay the league fine if the NBA comes calling.
"I told them I was really proud of them because we'd been living on our shooting," Van Gundy said. "They hung in the game, they kept fighting."
As was the case Monday in Toronto, the Pistons needed every bit of Jennings' second-half heroics after an up-and-down first half that the saw the starters reverse their trend of slow starts only to have the bench give up the lead.
Jennings' swing pass in a crowd to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a wing triple put the Pistons up 92-87 with 4:47 left, but the Pacers went on an 8-2 run, as the Pistons were behind with just 1:13 left.
But the Pistons showed plenty of poiseand a point guard who was determined to back up his words about being more aggressive after Wednesday's loss to New Orleans.
Jennings hit three triples on three straight possessions in three different ways, including a four-point play while being fouled by C.J. Miles, and then following it up with a transition triple to tie the game at 68, after they fell behind by 11 in the opening moments of the second half.
He erased that deficit with 19 points in the third quarter.
"They made a run in the third, they played real physical so we had to be physical back," Jennings said. "If I see a couple shots, everybody knows I'll keep shooting. I was able to get into a rhythm and also find guys," Jennings said.
His display was magnificent, but he didn't forget his teammates, deciding not to force the action.
He went to playmaker mode for the rest of the quarter, hitting another 3-pointer (his eighth) in front of the Pacers' bench, and giving the Pacers bench a little mouth to go along with it.
D.J. Augustin committed four turnovers in nine minutes while Jodie Meeks had three of his own, squandering a nine-point Pistons lead built by Greg Monroe dominating inside early with nine points and six rebounds.
Hibbert scored three buckets late in the first half while 28-year old rookie Damjan Rudez hit four of five in the half to erase the Pistons' advantage.
It was then that Jennings began to find his hot hand.
Jennings hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter, including a ridiculous step-back from the corner after he pulled off his best Curly Neal impression, shaking and baking before fading back, releasing and hearing the "ohhh" from the crowd.
The only bench player to produce consistently for the Pistons was Anthony Tolliver, who played the bulk of the fourth quarter while Drummond (16 points, 16 rebounds) sat until late.
The Pistons again pulled within 2 games of the eighth playoff spot.