Pistons looking for third win over Pacers

A quirk in the schedule pits Central Division rivals Detroit and Indiana against each other for the third time this season.

The Pistons have already defeated the Pacers twice heading into their meeting Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Both teams will be missing key players in Friday's matchup.

Detroit's All-Star forward Blake Griffin hasn't played this season due to hamstring and knee injuries, though he has been cleared to resume basketball activities.

Indiana's star guard Victor Oladipo is still working his way back from a serious quad injury suffered last season.

Detroit's three point guards -- Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier -- haven't played the last three games. Jackson won't return for several weeks, while the other two are listed as day-to-day.

Indiana played without two other starters, center Myles Turner and guard Jeremy Lamb, on Wednesday due to ankle sprains.

Forced to improvised on Wednesday, both teams thrived under adversity with superior ball movement.

The Pistons piled up 37 assists in a 122-102 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday. The assist total was their highest since February 2010 and just one less than the NBA season high.

"Thirty-seven assists is huge," coach Dwane Casey said. "That's something that we went into the game wanting to do -- move the basketball. Andre (Drummond) did a heck of a job. Those are the things we've got to continue to do."

Drummond filled the stat sheet once again with 27 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Drummond is averaging 21.9 points, a league-high 18.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.7 steals.

Small forward Tony Snell, an offseason acquisition from Milwaukee, scored a season-high 24 points while making all nine of his shot attempts, including six 3-pointers.

"That was bound to come," Drummond told Pistons.com. "We've been telling Tony to shoot from the beginning of the season, ever since we got him. I tell him all the time, 'Shoot the ball. That's why you're here.' He shot it with a lot of confidence (Wednesday)."

Malcolm Brogdon notched 13 of Indiana's 35 assists in a 121-106 victory against Washington the same night. Domantas Sabonis had 13 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists as the Pacers won for the fourth time in five games.

"The ball movement was great," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "We talked about trusting each other. ... That's how we have to play. If a guy is open, get him the ball and trust your teammate to make the right read."

Sabonis echoed those comments to Pacers.com after an outing in which seven Pacers reached double figures.

"I think players are starting to trust each other more," he said. "Coach always says if there's a guy open, you pass it to him 100 times (out of 100). We're building our trust together and we're playing with confidence."

Sabonis averaged 24.0 points and 13.5 rebounds in the first two meetings with the Pistons but Drummond has been the dominant player in the series, posting averages of 25.0 points and 20.5 rebounds.

--Field Level Media