In what proved to be a close finish, the Detroit Pistons (9-14) defeated the Indiana Pacers (14-8) 108-101. The Pistons sit ninth in the Eastern Conference, led by stars Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

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Coach Dwane Casey knew his team would have to be physical to compete against the Pacers. “We knew this was going to be a playoff-style game, and the way we played down the stretch was indicative of how we wanted to approach this one. We were boxing out, we were hitting guys and if we got a foul, it was a hard foul. It wasn’t anything dirty, just good physical basketball”, Casey said.

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Detroit’s physical style of play forced Casey to defend his team against accusations of dirty play from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks superstar, after the Pistons lost to the Bucks (20-3) by a final of 127-103. Drummond echoed his coach by saying, “I think we definitely played tough tonight. Everybody one through 12, the guys that played, sustained the same toughness.”

Drummond capped off a big game scoring 25 points with 22 rebounds and an assist. Griffin added with 25 points and a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 41 seconds left. Bruce Brown Jr. had five points, eight rebounds and six assists. “We were great on the boards tonight, me and Dre combined for 24 or 25,” Griffin said.

The Pacers managed to stay close as T.J. Warren led with 26 points with a rebound and an assist. Malcolm Brogdon had 21 points with five rebounds and five assists, and Domantas Sabonis chipped in with 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Pacers coach Nate McMillan said, “It’s always about execution. We didn’t get stops when we needed them and when we did force a miss, they got the offensive rebound.”

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The Pacers look to bounce back as they take on the Knicks (4-18) in New York tonight, while the Pistons head down to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans (6-16) on December 9.

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