NBA wrap: Pistons wins again, Reggie Jackson injured as roller-coaster season continues

The Pistons began December by losing seven in a row, but has now won five of six to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Reggie Jackson of the Detroit Pistons after missing a late fourth quarter free throw in Detroit on Tuesday.   -  AFP

Will the real Detroit Pistons please stand up?

Forward Tobias Harris scored 30 points and centre Andre Drummond added 21 to lead the Pistons to an easy 107-83 win over the Pacers Tuesday night.

The game caused some alarm for the Pistons, however, as guard Reggie Jackson had to be helped off the floor in the third quarter, putting no weight on his right foot.

The team later announced Jackson had suffered a sprained right ankle, although X-rays were negative. He’ll be further evaluated Wednesday.

The Pistons (19-14) has now won five of six games. They look like the same team that started the season 5-0, and nothing like the team that opened December with seven straight losses.

It's been that kind of up-and-down season for coach Stan Van Gundy's squad. Near the end of that losing streak, Van Gundy admitted he has tried to be honest with his players about their performance.

“What I’m trying to do is to tell the truth,” Van Gundy said. “When everybody else is kissing their ass and telling them they’re the greatest thing in the world, I’m trying to bring them back. When everybody else is telling them they suck, I’m trying to bring them up.”

The Pistons is clearly a playoff-caliber team, yet don't have the horses to run with the NBA's elite teams in the playoffs. But after beating the Pacers (19-15), Detroit is fourth in the Eastern Conference. Making the playoffs would be a nice coup for a franchise that finished 37-45 last season and has posted losing records in eight of the past nine seasons.

Now it all depends on which Pistons team shows up the rest of the season.

STUD OF THE NIGHT

Nikola Mirotic had 24 points and eight rebounds in the Bulls' 115-106 win over the Bucks. Coincidence or not, the Bulls has gone 8-2 since Mirotic returned to the lineup after missing the first 23 games of the season because of injuries suffered in a fight with teammate Bobby Portis. The Bulls started the season 3-20 with Mirotic sidelined.

DUD OF THE NIGHT

DeMar DeRozan averaged 34 points per game in three contests last week to win Eastern Conference player of the week honors, but was ice cold Tuesday in a loss to the Mavericks, scoring only eight points on 3-of-16 shooting.

HIGHLIGHT

With less than a second remaining, Tyson Chandler took a lob from Dragan Bender to throw down a game-winning dunk in the Suns' 99-97 win over the Grizzlies.