The Pistons kept making comebacks throughout the game after falling behind by 15 in the first half.
The Indiana Pacers kept pushing but couldn’t pull away until the fourth quarter, when they had a decisive 12-0 run that turned the Pistons’ four-point lead into an eight-point deficit.
The Pacers held on and took a 115-109 victory on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
It’s the fourth loss in the last five games for the Pistons (18-43), who gave up 22 points off their 18 turnovers. They had a couple of turnovers in the final stretch that proved costly.
“Eighteen turnovers for 22 points — that’s the ball game,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Some of them were just unconscionable, as far as the decisions with the ball and we’ve got to learn. In these last few games, we have to understand time, score and situation and what’s open.”
Jerami Grant had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists, Mason Plumlee added 17 points, a career-best 21 rebounds, and five assists. Josh Jackson and Cory Joseph added 12 points each.
The Pistons had a 101-97 lead with 4:54 remaining after a dunk by Isaiah Stewart (13 points and five rebounds). They went without a field goal for almost five minutes, and the Pacers answered with a big spurt.
Caris LeVert, who had 25 points and seven rebounds, scored a pair of baskets and Malcolm Brogdon (26 points and eight rebounds) added a 3-pointer and a drive, along with a 3-pointer by Edmond Sumner (22 points) to turn the tables and put the Pacers (28-31) ahead for good.
Grant and Josh Jackson each hit a pair of free throws to get the Pistons within four points, but the Pacers kept the pressure on with one of two free throws by LeVert and Brogdon. Grant made a 3-pointer with 13.9 seconds left to get within 113-109, but the Pistons didn’t get any closer.
“We definitely should have won the game,” Grant said. “We had a couple of mental lapses throughout the game and it got away from us.”
The Pistons also had a 10-point deficit at the end of the first quarter, which ballooned to 15 in the first two minutes of the second period. They trimmed a 42-28 margin to just two with a big run, including a tip-in by Stewart, two baskets by Plumlee and a 3-pointer by Frank Jackson, who had nine points in 14 minutes.
The Pacers held the lead until the final minutes just before halftime. The Pistons had another 10-0 run, with a 3-pointer and lay-in by Grant and a hook by Josh Jackson to pull ahead, 59-56, with 38 seconds remaining in the half. LeVert hit a putback and Cory Joseph scored with 4.8 seconds left for a 61-58 halftime lead.
Plumlee powered the Pistons to a 62-39 rebounding advantage.
“Mason got us started from the beginning, with his energy, his rebounding and toughness,” Casey said. “He’s one of those relentless rebounders we have in the game.”
The game stayed close until midway through the quarter, when the Pistons looked to be pulling away. The Pistons used a 6-0 run — going 8-of-10 from the field to start the quarter — to take a 77-69 lead.
The Pacers answered with another run, with four points from Brogdon and a pair of drives by Doug McDermott (18 points) to reclaim the lead. The Pistons got a 3-pointer from Joseph and a couple of free throws from Stewart to pull within 84-82 entering the fourth quarter.