On Sunday evening, the Nets defeated the Indiana Pacers by a final score of 97-86.
The Skinny: Pacers’ forward David West was scorching hot to start the game, hitting his first five shots from the field for 10 of Indiana’s first 17 points to open a six-point lead. After his status for the game was questionable with a right thigh contusion, Deron Williams looked just fine as he made five of his first seven shots for 12 points. Kris Humphries capitalized in the paint with six points and four rebounds in the opening frame. The Nets went on a 16-4 run to close out the quarter with a six-point lead.
Brooklyn’s second unit kept up the offensive pace to open the second quarter, but the Pacers knocked down 3-of-4 three-pointers to regain the lead. The Nets shot just 9-of-25 (36 percent) from the field in the second quarter and trailed by three at the break.
Indiana attacked the basket to start the third quarter and opened up a 12-point lead, their largest of the game, with the help of guard George Hill, who had eight points in the quarter. The Nets closed the gap to six after three, with Joe Johnson contributing eight points in the frame.
After shooting just 1-of-8 from the field through three quarters, Brook Lopez drained two corner jumpers in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to two. Johnson followed with a three-pointer to put Brooklyn back on top. From there, the Nets took over control of the game. Indiana tempers flared as both Hill and Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel picked up technical fouls. Johnson knocked down another huge three to increase the Nets’ lead to 10, and Brooklyn closed out the game with another victory.
High Scorers: West led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting. For the Nets, Williams led the way with 22 points on 7-of-18 from the field and dished out nine assists.
Key Stats: The Nets were 25-of-66 (38 percent) through three quarters but got hot when it counted in the fourth. Brooklyn orchestrated a 17-2 run to open the final frame and shot 8-of-15 from the field.
Who Was Hot: Humphries gave the Nets great minutes with 10 points and nine rebounds in 17:20. Johnson scored 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Paul George recorded a double-double for the Pacers with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Former Net Gerald Green contributed 15 points off the bench for Indiana.
Who Was Not: Andray Blatche and MarShon Brooks, who combined for 32 points Friday against the Suns, shot 2-of-13 collectively for 10 points.
Fun Fact: Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson attended Abraham Lincoln H.S. in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. Tonight’s game marked the second straight the Nets played a Brooklyn boy from Lincoln, with Sebastian Telfair of the Phoenix Suns suiting up at Barclays Center two nights ago.
Jim Mancari, ContributorThe Nets struggled in the second quarter in this one but certainly found their groove in the fourth quarter – of course when it matters most.
Even playing shorthanded without Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn mustered the guts for a comeback as they trailed by 12 early in the third quarter.
A right thigh contusion didn’t slow down D-Will, as he looked even better than some games he’s played healthy this season.
Lopez took his game to another level in the fourth quarter with 10 points and four rebounds down the stretch.
The Nets made a statement with this victory showing they can beat a team over. 500. The team now has its longest winning streak of the season at six games and has won eight of nine games since P.J. Carlesimo took over as head coach. The team is also still undefeated in 2013.
Brooklyn (22-15) closes out its three-game homestand Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors. The Nets have defeated the Raptors in both matchups this season. The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.