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Home still sweet for Indiana in Detroit victory

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Barring an improbable collapse, the Indiana Pacers will make the playoffs.

The only question is, where will they be seeded?

The next 14 games could go a long way in providing the answer.

Home has indeed been sweet for the Pacers, and home is where they play 12 of their next 14 games.

Wednesday night, they won for the 12th straight time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, routing the Detroit Pistons 98-79.

Roy Hibbert scored 18 points, and David West had 14 to help the Pacers (27-19) halt a season-high-tying three-game losing streak.

A West Coast swing that ended Monday in Denver resulted in only one win in four tries. So little wonder the Pacers, who were only four games out of the Eastern Conference lead heading into Wednesday, looked forward to the trip home.

Indiana hasn’t lost at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since Dec. 7, 2012, when it fell 92-89 against Denver. The 12-game home winning streak is its longest since the 2002-03 season.

Wednesday’s game was the first of four straight at the fieldhouse. The Pacers host the East-leading Miami Heat on Friday night, followed by Chicago on Feb. 4 and Atlanta on Feb. 5. They play at Philadelphia Feb. 6, then return for a five-game home-stand, beginning Feb. with Toronto.

If Wednesday’s performance is an indication, the Pacers plan to make the most of playing at home. They led from start to finish and were never seriously threatened after halftime.

With a lift from Lance Stephenson, the Pacers extended what had been a fragile 36-34 second-quarter lead to a commanding 54-38 advantage at halftime. Stephenson scored eight points during the run and wound up being one of six Indiana players in double figures, including all five starters.

George Hill finished with 15 points, followed by Stephenson with 12 and All-Star Paul George with 10. Tyler Hansbrough had 14 points and a team-high-tying 11 rebounds off the bench.

Hibbert and Stephenson, who had the first double-double of his career, had 11 rebounds each. Indiana outrebounded the Pistons 56-44 and limited them to 36 percent shooting from the field.

Detroit (17-29) played without forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, who were late scratches after reportedly being part of a three-team trade with Memphis and Toronto. Prince, who has played his entire 11-year career with the Pistons, had started all 45 games and was their third-leading scorer (11.7 points per game). Daye had no starts but had appeared in 24 games.

Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 18 points. Rodney Stuckey had 14, and backup Will Bynum had 13. Reserve center Andre Drummond had a game-best 14 rebounds and three blocked shots.

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