As shorthanded as the Pistons have been this season because of injuries, they need all the main players in the rotation they can get.
Losing even one thins out their margin of error.
When that one is Andre Drummond, it can be the difference between winning and losing.
It was on Friday.
Drummond picked up his third foul in the second quarter when the Pistons had the lead – and after he left the game, they never recovered. They gave up a big run and fell to the Indiana Pacers, 112-106, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pistons led, 51-44, at the 4:31 left before halftime when Drummond got the third foul and the Pacers finished the quarter on a 14-2 run, taking their first lead of the game and never relinquishing it in the second half.
Luke Kennard had 29 points, six rebounds and five assists. Drummond finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Langston Galloway had a season-high 19 points for the Pistons (4-6), who fell to 2-1 against the Pacers (5-4) this season.
The Pistons made a furious rally in the fourth quarter, after the Pacers looked to put it away following two free throws each from Domantas Sabonis (17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists) and Justin Holiday (16 points) with 3:27 left for a 108-95 lead.
Bruce Brown scored on a lay-in, Galloway made both free throws after a flagrant foul on T.J. Warren and on the ensuing possession, Tony Snell (11 points) hit a 3-pointer to pull within six with 2:01 remaining.
Galloway had another look at an open 3-pointer but it missed and Sabonis scored to push the lead back to eight. The Pistons couldn't get another shot to fall until the final seconds for the final margin.
After Drummond's third foul, the Pacers feasted with back-to-back baskets by Warren (17 points). Malcolm Brogdon finished the run with seven straight points before Brown scored on a put-back, trimming the Pacers' margin to 57-53 at halftime.
The Pacers started the third quarter with the first four points and after a Kennard jumper, Drummond picked up his fourth foul and Warren converted a three-point play. That started a 12-0 run and the Pacers took their largest lead, 72-55, at the 7:49 mark.
The Pistons answered with a 10-2 spurt, with a basket and a three-point play by Markieff Morris. Holiday scored six straight Pacers points to push the margin to 80-65 with 3:05 left in the third.