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Indiana at Detroit

Pistons beat new-look Pacers, Curry wins debut as head coach

CBSSports.com wire reports
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Michael Curry wants the Detroit Pistons to project a new image, consistently attacking on offense and playing hard on defense.

After Game 1, it's a work in progress.

The Detroit Pistons played well enough to build big leads only to allow the Indiana Pacers to rally before beating them 100-94 on Wednesday night in the opener for both teams.

Curry, though, can't fault the effort he saw in his debut as a head coach.

"If you get a big lead, NBA teams are going to come back on you because they're too good," Curry said. "The key is minimizing their runs and we did that."

Tayshaun Prince had 19 points, Richard Hamilton scored 15, Chauncey Billups added 13 points and seven assists, and Walter Herrmann had 10 points to help Detroit's reserves easily outscore their counterparts.

Danny Granger led the new-look Pacers with 33 points and got some help from new teammates T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack and Rasho Nesterovic.

Indiana had seven more turnovers and nine fewer offensive rebounds than Detroit.

"The difference in the game was the turnover differential and the offensive glass," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We shot 50 percent and we got to the line 13 times more than they did, but we shot ourselves in the foot."

Only eight of the 15 players on Indiana's opening-night roster were on the team at the end of last season.

The Pistons planned to shake up their core -- which helped them win a championship in 2004 and advance to six straight Eastern Conference finals -- but they ended up standing pat and counting on Curry along with an influx of youth to take them back to the NBA Finals.

Expectations are relatively low for Detroit after getting eliminated in Game 6 of conference finals the past three seasons.

The Pistons have provided fodder for doubters with inconsistent play and arrogant attitudes that have stunted their potential.

"We've earned the right for people to ask, 'Has this team made their last run?' We've earned the right (for people) to ask if we're going to be able to get it with the few changes we've made," Curry said. "We have to reassure ourselves, first and foremost."

The Pistons pulled away with a 20-6 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to build an 80-64 lead.

But they seemed to relax, letting their opponents back in the game, as they did under former coaches Flip Saunders, Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle during the previous seven seasons.

Indiana went on a 13-2 run to pull within five points midway through the fourth.

Granger's 3-pointer pulled the Pacers within four points with 24 seconds left, but they couldn't get closer.

"That is a really good team and we did a good job of hanging with them and withstanding their pressure," Granger said. "We made too many mistakes to win, but we know those are things we can improve."

Saunders was fired in June and was replaced by Curry, one of his assistants who had only a year of coaching experience.

The Pistons signed the game ball and planned to present it to Curry.

"It's great, we congratulated M.C., but we're looking to get many more," Billups said.

Troy Murphy had 13 points and 15 rebounds and Marquis Daniels scored 12 points for Indiana. In their debut with the Pacers, Ford scored 10 points, Jack had nine, Nesterovic eight and first-round picks Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert added seven and two points, respectively.

The Pacers were without Mike Dunleavy, who is out with tendinitis in his right knee. He went through some pregame warmups and might be ready to play in a couple of weeks.

They have revamped their roster in the wake of the 2004 brawl at The Palace with the Pistons and fans, wanting to improve their image in Indianapolis and perhaps challenge for a spot in the playoffs after missing them in consecutive years for the first time in two decades.

Amir Johnson, a 21-year-old forward in his fourth NBA season, started his first NBA game and had six points, six rebounds and three blocks.

He joined four starters, who began a game together for the 294th time in the regular season.

Since the 1991-92 season, only Indiana's quartet of Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Rik Smits and Dale Davis started more regular season games together. Those Pacers started together 320 times from 1994-95 to 1999-2000.

"They've got Amir Johnson out there with four All-Stars, so it is a lot easier for them to absorb any growing pains," O'Brien said.

Notes

  • The Pistons have offered Jason Maxiell a $20 million, four-year contract, but he is expected to leave the deal on the table before the Friday deadline to test the market as a free agent next summer.
  • PG Jamaal Tinsley is technically still a Pacer, but he's in Atlanta waiting for the franchise to trade him.
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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Michael Curry looks spiffy during his Pistons coaching debut, especially as a winner. (Getty Images)
Michael Curry looks spiffy during his Pistons coaching debut, especially as a winner. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Indiana (0-1) 1723243094
Detroit (1-0) «23272525100
IND:D. Granger 33 Pts
IND:T. Murphy 15 Reb
IND:T. Ford 5 Ast
DET:T. Prince 19 Pts
DET:R. Wallace 7 Reb
DET:C. Billups 7 Ast
Players of the Game
DetroitIndiana

T. Prince

D. Granger
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
19533351
Indiana
D. Granger, SF3910-1611-1251433
T. Murphy, C384-113-4152113
M. Daniels, SG324-94-433312
T. Ford, PG304-82-225410
R. Nesterovic, C244-70-05318
J. Jack, PG273-93-42249
B. Rush, SG243-51-12127
J. Foster, C200-00-24110
R. Hibbert, C61-20-00002
M. Baston, SFDid Not Play
J. Tinsley, PGDid Not Play
M. Dunleavy, SGDid Not Play
T. Diener, PGDid Not Play
S. Graham, SFDid Not Play
J. McRoberts, PFDid Not Play
Totals 33-6724-2938182094
 49.3%82.8% 
Detroit
C. Billups, PG355-132-357113
R. Wallace, PF334-111-27249
R. Hamilton, SG335-134-444215
T. Prince, SF328-152-253119
A. Johnson, SF213-60-06116
A. McDyess, PF194-90-05228
J. Maxiell, PF182-43-34017
W. Herrmann, SF164-60-020210
R. Stuckey, SG163-92-23448
A. Afflalo, SG142-30-00035
K. Brown, C30-20-00000
A. Acker, GDid Not Play
W. Bynum, PGDid Not Play
C. Samb, CDid Not Play
W. Sharpe, PFDid Not Play
Totals 40-9114-16412321100
 44.0%87.5% 
Other Games
Tor 95 Final
Phi 84
Atl 99 Final
Orl 85
NJ 95 Final
Wash 85
Mia 115 Final
NY 120
Sac 96 Final
Min 98
Pho 103 Final
SA 98
Mil 98 Final
OKC 87
Mem 71 Final
Hou 82
Den 94 Final
Utah 98
NO 108 Final
GS 103
LAL 117 Final
LAC 79