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Indiana at Detroit

Armstrong sinks last-second free throw to lift Pacers over Pistons

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- On a night filled with dramatic runs, the Indiana Pacers picked up a win with a single free throw.

Darrell Armstrong's foul shot with 0.9 seconds left gave the Pacers a 93-92 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

To make things worse for Detroit, Chauncey Billups strained his right calf while hitting a key 3-pointer in the last minute. He is expected to miss 10 days to two weeks.

"I felt a pop in there," Billups said. "When I went up, it was like I couldn't move. I knew it wasn't a cramp -- I've had cramps before. We just have to monitor it and see."

Richard Hamilton tied the game with a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds to go, but Carlos Delfino ran over Armstrong as both went for a loose ball at the other end.

"I saw Jermaine (O'Neal) and Tayshaun Prince go up for the ball, and I was just looking for a deflection," Armstrong said. "When the ball came to me, my eyes got real big. I tried to get to the basket, but I never had a chance."

Delfino said he was just trying to get to Armstrong as quickly as possible.

"I tried to contest it, but it was hard to control myself," he said. "I tried to foul him so he wouldn't shoot the ball."

After both Hamilton and Flip Murray got in his face, Armstrong missed the first free throw but sank the second.

"Rip was just messing with my head -- he kept touching my shooting hand and telling me to miss them for him," he said. "The first one felt good, so I knew I was going to make the second one."

Rasheed Wallace's desperation pass flew out of bounds, giving the Pacers the win in a game that saw them go on a 35-7 run and give up one of 30-10.

"This can be an important win for us," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "But it will only be big if we can sustain this."

Jermaine O'Neal missed Indiana's previous game with flu-like symptoms, but returned with 25 points and 13 rebounds.

"I'm probably 65 or 70 percent," O'Neal said. "This is the best I've felt in the last five days, though. They think it might have been the beginnings of pneumonia, but I'm bouncing back now."

Al Harrington added 16 points for Indiana, while Jamaal Tinsley had 14 points and nine assists.

Billups led Detroit with 23 points and a career-best 12 rebounds before the injury. Hamilton, coming off a career-high 51 points in Wednesday's triple-overtime loss to the Knicks, finished with 22 on 7-of-18 shooting.

Billups' 3-pointer with 18 seconds left pulled Detroit within 89-88, but he landed awkwardly and had to be helped off the floor.

"Right now, it is diagnosed as a strain," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We'll have to wait and see how it reacts tomorrow."

Stephen Jackson hit a pair of free throws, but Hamilton's layup moved the margin back to 91-90.

This time, Danny Granger could only split his free throws, and Hamilton drew a foul from Jackson, allowing him to tie the game.

Indiana led 48-47 after a roller-coaster first half that saw both teams alternating stretches of dominance and futility.

The Pacers jumped out to a 12-2 lead, only to see the Pistons go on an extended run that put them up 32-22 at the end of the first.

Detroit built the advantage to as many as 15 in the second, but Indiana closed the half with a 19-4 surge of their own.

The intermission didn't help Detroit, as the Pacers quickly upped the lead to 64-50. The Pistons missed nine of their first 10 second-half shots.

The Pistons charged back, and pulled within 67-64 on Billups' buzzer-beating 3-pointer from midcourt.

"NBA players are going to make shots like that, and Chauncey's certainly got that kind of range," Carlisle said. "We just had to gather ourselves and keep our composure. That's how it was all night."

Detroit couldn't get closer than three until Tayshaun Prince's follow shot made it 83-82 with three minutes to play. The Pacers scored the next five points, but couldn't put away the Pistons.

Notes

  • The Pacers held their pregame shootaround at nearby Oakland University, alma mater of Indiana swingman Rawle Marshall. Marshall, the school's first NBA player, was inactive for the game.
  • Kid Rock, Lions defensive back Dre Bly and Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek attended the game.
  • Tinsley and Jackson, two key figures in the 2004 Palace brawl, picked up first-half technicals for arguing calls.
  • Wallace played just 22 minutes while batting a stomach illness and sore ankles.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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The Pistons can only watch as Jermaine O'Neal scores 25 points and grabs 13 rebounds.  (AP)
The Pistons can only watch as Jermaine O'Neal scores 25 points and grabs 13 rebounds. (AP)

Scoreboard
Indiana (16-14) «2226192693
Detroit (18-9) 3215172892
IND:J. O'Neal 25 Pts
IND:J. O'Neal 13 Reb
IND:J. Tinsley 9 Ast
DET:C. Billups 23 Pts
DET:C. Billups 12 Reb
DET:C. Billups 5 Ast
Indiana
J. O'Neal, PF389-227-10132125
A. Harrington, C386-140-071316
J. Tinsley, PG375-172-249014
J. Foster, C333-61-110267
S. Jackson, SG264-87-722615
D. Granger, SF253-71-22107
M. Daniels, SG204-60-01418
M. Baston, PF100-10-02020
S. Jasikevicius, PG80-20-00200
D. Armstrong, PG60-11-21101
D. Harrison, CDid Not Play
J. Powell, PFDid Not Play
O. Greene, PGDid Not Play
R. Marshall, SFDid Not Play
S. Williams, SFDid Not Play
Totals 34-8419-2442241993
 40.5%79.2% 
Detroit
C. Billups, PG407-195-6125223
T. Prince, SF335-150-063210
R. Hamilton, SG327-188-842522
R. Wallace, PF212-41-27026
N. Mohammed, C182-40-06014
J. Maxiell, PF276-90-241012
C. Delfino, PG233-62-27129
A. McDyess, PF172-30-25044
D. Davis, PF121-30-02012
R. Murray, SG100-20-00120
W. Blalock, PG70-00-02200
L. Hunter, SGDid Not Play
R. Dupree, SFDid Not Play
A. Johnson, PFDid Not Play
Totals 35-8316-2255152192
 42.2%72.7% 
Other Games
LAL 124 Final
Char 133
Orl 111 Final
Wash 112
Chi 107 Final
Tor 97
Mil 99 Final
Cle 109
NJ 91 Final
Mia 81
Sea 82 Final
Min 101
Den 89 Final
NO 99
Atl 68 Final
Hou 94
NY 86 Final
Pho 108
Phi 98 Final
Port 95
Bos 100 Final
GS 110
Sac 93 Final
LAC 102