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Pistons run out of gas in 111-95 loss to Pacers at LCA

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — The wait for a winning streak is going to have to continue.

After the Pistons got an impressive win Tuesday over the Brooklyn Nets, they were looking for their first back-to-back wins this season.

Against the Indiana Pacers, it was a tough task, and though the Pistons stuck around through the first three quarters, they ran out of gas in the fourth.

The Pistons fell short again, with a 111-95 loss to the Pacers, on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena. It’s the first game of a back-to-back, with a trip to face the Boston Celtics looming on Friday.

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It was a big game for rookie Isaiah Stewart, who got his first career start, subbing for the injured Mason Plumlee. Stewart had a career-high 17 points, on 8-of-9 shooting, and added seven rebounds.

Josh Jackson had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Blake Griffin 16 points and six assists for the Pistons (8-19).

"(It was) their physicality. We're getting bumped and hit and we didn't respond in the proper way, against a physical team like Indiana,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We talked about before the game it was going to be a different approach than we had against Brooklyn.

“Brooklyn is more of a finesse team and this team will beat you up and wear you down, and they did in the second half. I just didn’t think we had the proper disposition in the second half.”

Pistons' Blake Griffin scores over Pacers' l-r, Aaron Holiday,  and Myles Turner in the second quarter.

The Pacers (13-13) pulled away in the third quarter with a 15-1 run, turning the tables on a 58-55 Pistons lead and making it an 11-point advantage for themselves.

Domantas Sabonis led the way with 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Malcolm Brogdon added 18 points and nine rebounds. Sabonis had the first two baskets in the rally, along with seven points from Brogdon.

Without Plumlee, the Pistons didn’t have many answers for the Pacers’ big men.

“You miss the rolling, screening and his length and size against Sabonis. Isaiah scrapped as much as he could but he’s a young kid and Sabonis is a veteran scorer inside, so you miss that aspect,” Casey said. “(Plumlee) brings a lot to the game, the rolling, putting pressure on the paint.

“Isaiah is getting there, but he’s not quite where Mason is in that part of the game.”

The Pistons answered with a basket by Jerami Grant, who was held to 4-of-17 shooting and just nine points, the second time this season he’s scored in single digits. They got within eight on drives by Jackson and Sekou Doumbouya, but the Pacers finished the third quarter with two free throws by Sabonis and a lay-in by T.J. McConnell.

In his Pistons debut, Dennis Smith Jr. got his first points on a drive to the basket and contributed four points in 16 minutes.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard