With 45.9 seconds left in the game, a fight broke out on the court between several players. After the fight was broken up, a fan threw a drink from the stands at Pacers player Ron Artest while he was lying on the scorer's table. Artest then entered the crowd and sparked a massive brawl between players and fans that stretched onto the court.
After the game, the NBA suspended nine players for a total of 146 games, which led to $11 million in salary being lost by the players. Five players were also charged with assault, and eventually sentenced to a year of probation and community service. Five fans also faced criminal charges and were banned from attending Pistons home games for life. The fight also led the NBA to increase security between players and fans, and to limit the sale of alcohol in games.
The meeting was the first between the two teams since the previous season's Eastern Conference Finals, which the Pistons won in six games en route to their first NBA title since the "Bad Boys" era of the late 1980s and early 1990s. This caused the game to receive much hype from the media and fans. Having won two games in a row, the Pacers came into the game with a 6–2 record, while the Pistons, the defending champions, began their season 4–3. The game was televised nationally on ESPN, as well as on the Pacers' and Pistons' local broadcast affiliates, Fox Sports Midwest and WDIV (Detroit's NBC affiliate), respectively.
The game, like many previous meetings between the two teams, was dominated by defense. The Pacers got off to a quick start, opening up a 20-point lead with seven minutes to go before halftime. The Pistons managed to cut into the lead, trailing by 16 points by halftime. The Pistons opened the third quarter with a 9–2 run, but the Pacers ended it with a buzzer-beating three-pointer and a layup from Jamaal Tinsley heading into the fourth quarter. Richard Hamilton and Lindsey Hunter started the last quarter with consecutive three-point field goals, as the Pistons cut into the lead again. But Stephen Jackson's back-to-back field goals pushed the lead back to 93–79 with 3:52 remaining, essentially putting the Pistons away. Despite the lopsided score near the end of the game, most key players on both teams remained in the game.
The Pacers were led by the 24-point effort of Ron Artest, who scored 17 in the first quarter. Jermaine O'Neal notched a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Tinsley had 13 points, eight assists and a career-high eight steals. Hamilton led the Pistons with 20 points. Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace both recorded a double-double.