NBA: Drummond carries Pistons past Pacers

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Oct 24 2019 11:25 AM

NBA: Drummond carries Pistons past Pacers 1
Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons shoots the ball in the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 23, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Andy Lyons, Getty Images/AFP

Andre Drummond scored 32 points and grabbed 23 rebounds to power the Detroit Pistons to a 119-110 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at Indianapolis.

The Pistons closed the season opener for both teams on a 22-10 run, holding the Pacers without a point over a 3:03 stretch late in the fourth quarter.

Drummond, the center of an offseason-long contract discussion, delivered in all phases. He shot 12-for-18 from the floor, 8-for-10 from the free-throw line, blocked four shots and added three steals.

He produced the first 30-point, 20-rebound performance in a season opener since Charles Barkley accomplished the feat in 1992.

With Drummond dominant in the middle, guard Luke Kennard stretched the Indiana defense with his 3-point shooting. He knocked down 6 of 9 from behind the arc and finished with 30 points.

Indiana book-ended the contest with periods of offensive stagnation. Taking the floor without All-Star wing Victor Oladipo (knee), the Pacers went 4:04 into the game before scoring their first points.

The frontcourt duo of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner led Indiana with 27 and 25 points, respectively. Sabonis recorded a double-double thanks to 13 rebounds, and Turner -- the NBA leader for blocked shots a season ago -- swatted three on Wednesday.

Offseason signee Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points but shot just 5-for-13 from the field.

Bench points tipped the contest in favor of Detroit, which dropped 3 of 4 in the series with Indiana last season. Kennard's 30 led a 57-point outpouring from the Pistons reserves, which also included 18 points from former Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose.

Indiana scored just 16 points off the bench.

Only two Pistons starters scored in double figures, Tony Snell barely hitting the mark with 10. But the burst off the bench, most notably Kennard's long-range shooting, marked an important departure from a season ago.

The Pistons were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA a season ago, but they connected on 45.8 percent (11 of 24) to open 2019-20.

Indiana came alive offensively after its sluggish start, posting 62 combined points in the middle quarters. The Pacers' inability to build a lead larger than nine points allowed Detroit to rally in the fourth quarter.

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