Larry Brown acknowledged he was outcoached by the man he replaced.
Indiana Coach Rick Carlisle gave Austin Croshere his first start in more than two years and the seldom-used forward scored 14 points to lift the Pacers to an 83-68 victory over Brown's Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
The surprising move and the stunning rout in Game 4 evened the Eastern Conference finals at 2, turning the matchup into a best-of-three series.
"We weren't ready to play and that's on me," said Brown, hired last summer after Carlisle was fired following two successful seasons in Detroit. "They were better prepared and better coached. I have to do a better job."
The series resumes Sunday night in Indianapolis, with Game 6 back in suburban Detroit on Tuesday night.
"The pressure is on Detroit because their whole season is made or broken on whether or not they make it to the finals," said Carlisle, who led the Pistons to the conference finals last season after his second 50-victory season.
Indiana avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season and regained the home-court advantage.
But Detroit's Ben Wallace said he is not concerned.
"We're right where we want to be," he said.
Croshere averaged just five points this season, and hadn't contributed much since the 2000 NBA Finals when he scored a career-high 24 points against the Lakers and was rewarded with a seven-year, $51 million contract.
Croshere, whose scoring average dropped from 10.1 to 6.8 to 5.1 in his first three seasons after signing the big contract, didn't even play in three of the Pacers' first 13 playoff games.
"To get the opportunity to step up in a game like this, it's great," he said.
Croshere ended the first half with a three-pointer and began the second half with another to put the Pacers ahead 52-39.
Moments later, he was left wide open at the three-point line. As Detroit fans let out a collective groan, Croshere hit the shot for a 17-point lead.
In a very unusual move at The Palace, the Pistons were booed often.
They are at their best when their stingy defense leads to easy baskets on offense, and when their half-court sets feature constant passing.
When they don't "play the right way," as Brown says, they can look awful, as they did Friday night.
"If I look at this game, I want to stick my head in the sand," Brown said.
After failing to shoot better than 34 percent in the first three games of the series, the Pacers made 45.7 percent of their shots and got big contributions from their top players.
"So much has been said about the missed shots and everything else, so we tried to remind these guys before the game that they all know how to play basketball," Carlisle said.
Ron Artest scored 20 points, Reggie Miller added 15 and Jermaine O'Neal had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks.
O'Neal survived a scare in the first quarter with a sprained left knee, which was to be examined after practice Saturday.
O'Neal said the big win will not likely earn the Pacers respect.
"We have not been given credit all season," he said. "We won 61 games in the regular season and people kind of blew it off and said we were playing in like a JV league."
Detroit's Richard Hamilton had 22 points -- scoring at least 20 for the 26th time in 33 career playoff games.
When Indiana pulled away in the third quarter -- with a 21-11 edge -- Hamilton scored nine points on 4-of-10 shooting. His teammates missed all 10 of their shots in the quarter.
Chauncey Billups added 21 points and five assists for the Pistons, and Rasheed Wallace had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Indiana's starting front court outscored Detroit's 46-11.
"My biggest problem was, we couldn't guard anybody up front and that opened it up for anybody," Brown said.
Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley -- hampered by knee, hamstring and ankle injuries to his left leg -- sat out the fourth quarter
"My left leg is just gone right now," said Tinsley, who expects to play in Game 5.
Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince were both 0 for 5 from the field and combined for one point.