Pistons try to stay hot on road against Pacers

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Pistons will try to continue their strong play of late Friday night when they visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a showdown with their Central Division rivals, the Indiana Pacers.

The Pistons are 9-2 since the abrupt release of Josh Smith and more impressively, they've six straight on the road.

Last time out, Detroit had no answer for Anthony Davis and fell to the New Orleans Pelicans, 105-94, Wednesday at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Davis finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Brandon Jennings, who was fined $15,000 by the NBA for an obscene gesture, led the Pistons with 19 points and Greg Monroe supplied 16 points with eight rebounds in the loss.

D.J. Augustin managed 13 off the bench and Jodie Meeks added 11 in the losing effort.

The Pelicans staked a four-point lead after the first quarter, a period that saw the Pistons only score 18 points. The Pistons posted the same number in the second quarter, but New Orleans busted the game open, scoring 36 to take a 22-point lead into the half.

"We didn't do anything well in the second (quarter)," said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. "We brought absolutely no energy to the start of the game."

New Orleans outrebounded the Pistons 47-30, and dominated in second-chance points to the tune of 20-5.

The Pistons host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

The Pacers have lost two straight, one on the road, the second at home, but neither was what anyone would classify as a good loss.

On Saturday, Indiana fell at Philadelphia, then, on Tuesday, it lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 110-101, at home. Minnesota's Mo Williams scored 52 in that one to snap a 15-game losing streak and a 10-game road slide.

"He was in a ridiculous zone," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of Williams. "Sometimes players get into ridiculous zones."

C.J. Miles paced Indiana with 22 points and C.J. Watson deposited 17 points for the Pacers. Rodney Stuckey added 13 off the bench and Luis Scola chipped in 11 for the second unit.

David West managed 12 points and Roy Hibbert rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10.

The Pacers, still one of the NBA's elite defensive units, allowed 41 points in the fourth quarter to blow a six-point lead at the end of three quarters.

Indiana begins a five-game road trip through the south on Saturday night in Charlotte. The Pacers will also visit Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando on the trek.

The Pistons won the first matchup between these squads this season on Dec. 26 in Motown, however the Pacers are 8-2 over the last 10. Indiana is 11-1 in its last 12 as the host in this series.