Making it look easy
Tobias Harris, Pistons stay sharp to top Pacers
DETROIT (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 23 points and the first-place Detroit Pistons won for the sixth time in seven games, beating the Indiana Pacers 114-97 on Wednesday night.
Andre Drummond added 14 points and 21 rebounds for the Pistons, who lead Cleveland by three games in the Central Division. Indiana lost its fourth straight.
Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 21 points, but Indiana has allowed at least 100 points in 10 of 12 games this season. The Pacers were without injured big man Domantas Sabonis.
Detroit led 59-52 at halftime, and after the Pacers fought back to tie the game at 65, the Pistons went on a 13-0 run to take control. Harris made a 3-pointer to put Detroit ahead by 11, and Drummond capped that streak with a putback that he made despite being hit in the face by Indiana’s Thaddeus Young. Drummond was momentarily shaken up but played on.
It was 82-75 after three quarters, then the Pistons scored eight straight points to start the fourth, including 3-pointers by Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver.
The Pistons trailed 33-22 early in the second quarter, making this their fourth comeback victory of the season from a double-digit deficit. Drummond and Avery Bradley both picked up two fouls in the first 5:31, which contributed to Detroit’s slow start.
The Pistons outscored Indiana 37-22 in the second and turned their deficit into a halftime lead.
Pacers: Sabonis sat out a second straight game with a bruised right calf. … Al Jefferson scored 19 points and Young added 16.
Pistons: F Stanley Johnson (right hip flexor strain) did not play. … Drummond, whose free throw shooting had improved dramatically this season, went 0 for 7 from the line.
Magic 112, Knicks 99
ORLANDO, Fla.– Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points and Evan Fournier added 23 to help the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 112-99 on Wednesday night.
Jonathon Simmons scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half. He had 11 straight points early in the fourth quarter to push the Magic’s lead back to double figures.
The Magic, benefiting from the return of starting point guard Elfrid Payton, snapped a two-game losing streak. New York, playing without scoring Kristaps Porzingis (ankle and elbow injuries), had its three-game winning streak come to an end.
With Porzingis out, Tim Hardaway, Jr. was the Knicks’ only consistent scoring threat, and had 26 points.
The Knicks entered the game having won six of their last seven games, but they seemed out of synch offensively without Porzingis. They shot 53 percent from the field but committed 23 turnovers.
Orlando, meanwhile, got its offensive rhythm back with Payton in the game. The Magic shot 54 percent from the field and 46 from 3-point range mainly on the strength of spacing with Payton on the floor.
Payton was a stabilizer in his return from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss eight straight games, but he finished with 11 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in 29 minutes.
Aaron Gordon also came through for the Magic with 21 points. He was 4 for 6 from 3-point range and 8 for 11 from field after a few signature alley-oop passes from Payton.
Knicks: Forward Michael Beasley started in place of injured Porzingis. Beasley scored four points. … Point guard Jarrett Jack converted 3 of 4 field goals in the first half and had four assists but he also had four turnovers.
Magic: Fournier had five steals in the first half and was a major reason the Magic outscored the Knicks on fast break points 14-0 during the first two quarters. For the game, the Magic outscored the Knicks 21-4 on fast breaks. … Orlando outscored the Knicks in paint 30-18 in the first half.