Pistons, Pacers not satisfied with recent success
Detroit coach Dwane Casey and Indiana's Nate McMillan aren't particularly excited over back-to-back victories following the NBA's All-Star break.
The Pistons and Pacers will try to keep their streaks going when they meet at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena on Monday.
The Pistons have won six of their last seven but remain two games under .500.
"We have nothing to be overly happy about," Casey said. "We are digging out of a hole right now. I like our guys' approach at this position. However, we have to maintain it."
The Pacers reached the 40-win mark during their last outing but aspire to a deep playoff run despite the season-ending loss of top scorer Victor Oladipo.
"Forty is not the number that we want," McMillan said. "We can't be satisfied with anything we've done."
If nothing else, the Pistons are feeling a lot better about themselves and what the rest of the season might bring. Their 119-96 win at Miami on Saturday, following a three-point victory at Atlanta the previous night, has elevated them to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. The top eight make the playoffs.
"We still have a long way and a lot of basketball to be played. We have to stay focused," Casey said. "We are doing pretty well right now. ... We have a tough team coming into our home on Monday and we have to be focused for that."
The reserves carried Detroit at Miami, racking up a season-high 66 points. Point guard Ish Smith reached season bests with 22 points and nine assists, while fellow reserves Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway each scored 17 points.
"We struggled in the past," Kennard said.
"(Saturday) we wanted to bring a little more, and we did that. We trust our first unit to make the big plays and bring us through the game, but we need to make those plays as well. We need everybody, not just the first unit and not just the second."
All-Star power forward Blake Griffin, who scored 20 points, enjoys the camaraderie within the team.
"We have a great group of guys who are supportive of each other, and we are very happy for each other's success," he said. "These last two games gave us life and everyone's stepping up. Both units stepped up (Saturday) and that's what is going to help us on this run."
Indiana has won eight of its last nine, including a 119-112 triumph at Washington on Saturday. The Pacers overcame 23 turnovers with the aid of point guard Darren Collison, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
"Winning the game by any means necessary," he said. "It felt like I set my teammates up the first three quarters. I felt like at some point I had to put my head down to be an option in the offense, and that's what happened."
Power forward Thaddeus Young led the way with 22 points.
"That's the glue," McMillan said. "That's the guy who has really stepped up since losing Victor, playing like a captain, leading by example getting it done. The guy is just giving it all that he has."
The Pacers are hopeful of getting center Myles Turner back in action on Monday. He missed the last two games with a hip injury.
Indiana blew out Detroit 125-88 in their first meeting on Dec. 28. The teams will play a home-and-home set in early April.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 24, 2019