Indiana Pacers Survive: Hansbrough Leads Pacers To 1-Point Victory vs. Pistons

No NameAnalyst IFebruary 23, 2011

Brandon Rush's dunk with 5.4 seconds left was the difference as the Pacers held on for a 102-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Indiana was trailing by one point with 11 seconds left when Danny Granger got one of his biggest assists of the season, finding a streaking Brandon Rush who was able to finish strong. Granger had 17 points in the second half after just scoring one point in six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.

The Pacers held a 16-point lead in the second half, and nearly fumbled it away in the final seconds. Austin Daye hit a mid-range jumper with 11 seconds remaining, which gave the Pistons their first lead since early in the first quarter. When Granger got the ball in the closing seconds, he was able to find Rush out of the double-team.

Detroit turned the ball over on its final possession.

Tyler Hansbrough led the way for Indiana, with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench. Darren Collison had 11 and Paul George and Josh McRoberts each scored ten in the win.

This is the ninth win in the past 12 games for Indiana, which is still holding on tightly to the final playoff spot in the East.

Up next for the Pacers is another home game against the new-look Jazz on Friday night. It will be the first game in Indianapolis for current Jazz forward Gordon Hayward. The Butler standout from Brownsburg will most likely receive a warm greeting at Conseco Fieldhouse, but the Jazz will be without All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who was traded to the New Jersey Nets earlier today.

Williams is the latest superstar to leave his team out West and head to the Eastern Conference. Slowly but surely, the balance of power is shifting from the West to the East. This is not good news for Pacers fans, as it will surely have a negative impact on their success.

With Melo joining the Knicks and Williams to the Nets, those two teams will now join the likes of Miami, Boston, Chicago, Orlando and Atlanta as the best teams in the East. This will likely leave just two playoff spots open for teams like the Pacers for the next handful of years.

If and when Dwight Howard or Chris Paul find their way to New York or Miami, a championship during this decade will almost certainly be out of the question, no matter what the Pacers are able to do to their roster.

It will be interesting to see if the Pacers are able to move guys like TJ Ford, Brandon Rush, Mike Dunleavy, James Posey or Jeff Foster before tomorrow's 3 p.m. trade deadline. They will most likely stay put and try to buy out Ford's contract. They may want to hang on to Rush for the rest of the season after finding out that Dunleavy has a broken thumb.

Even if he were healthy, I wouldn't expect them to make any noise before the trade deadline. They never do.