Another point guard went off on the Indiana Pacers Friday night, but it was a tip-in with just 0.3 seconds remaining that did them in this time.
That and a questionable offensive foul call preceding the last-second dramatics.
Three nights after Mo Williams scored a career-high 52 points in a win on the Pacers’ home floor, Brandon Jennings put up 37 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. When Jennings missed a bank shot in the final second, center Andre Drummond tipped in the rebound with fractions of a second remaining to give the Detroit Pistons a 98-96 road victory.
The game was tied at 96 when Jennings missed a baseline fade-away jumper, the Pacers rebounded and called time out with 35.5 seconds remaining. But on the ensuing possession, center Roy Hibbert was called for an offensive foul after backing in on Drummond, who hit the floor after taking a shoulder to the chest.
The Pacers thought the 6-11, 279-pound Pistons center flopped.
Jennings dribbled down the clock and tried a left-handed scoop shot high off the glass. Hibbert jumped toward the guard to try to block the shot. The ball bounced off the left side of the rim and then the front and directly to Drummond, who ran around forward David West to tip it in with his right hand.
Indiana was unable to get off a shot on an inbounds play with so little time left.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel had some choice words for the officiating crew after the final buzzer.
The dramatic win enabled the Pistons (15-25) to move past the Pacers (15-26) in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division. Detroit won its seven consecutive road game, tying a franchise record set in 2001-02, and is now 10-2 since waiving forward Josh Smith.
Two of those wins have come against the Pacers, who have lost three in a row and four of five and find themselves in the division basement.
Drummond’s game-winning basket came off his 16th rebound, 10 of those offensive. He also had 16 points.
The Pacers continued a discouraging trend of closs losses. They’re 4-6 in their last 10 games, two of those losses by two points and two others by a single point. Indiana is 5-12 this season in games decided by six points or less.
Jennings scored 19 of his game-high 37 points in the third quarter, when the Pistons outpointed their hosts 30-25 to take a 79-76 lead into the final quarter. He hit 10-of-23 shots, but more importantly, 8-of-13 3-pointers and was perfect on nine foul shots.
The Pacers begin a five-game, eight-day road trip against the Charlotte Hornets (15-25) Saturday night.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.