The Indiana Pacers spent another game forcing themselves to climb back from a huge deficit, using some big second half defense to erase all of a 24-point deficit to take a brief lead in the fourth quarter, but in being unable to keep the Brooklyn Nets from making big shots, saw their chances dwindle into a loss, the team's third in four games. The Nets spent the entire night shooting over the Pacers, getting nearly all of their production from shots outside of the paint.
The Brooklyn shooting was lethal in the first half, finishing the first 24 minutes at 65% from the floor, as Deron Williams lit up the Pacers with a critical stretch in the second quarter. Indiana needed ample offense themselves to even keep pace with Brooklyn, falling behind by 19 points at the break. Things got a little worse in the third quarter when the Nets shot their way to a 24 point lead. With Williams reaching 30 points, the Pacers defense, spearheaded by Paul George on Williams, and a quick fire response to Nets (increasing) misses with Lance Stephenson fast breaks, began to chip away at the Nets lead, drawing within four in the third quarter.
In the fourth, the two teams had a number of big shots as Indiana took the lead on a Stephenson three with five minutes left in the game, but couldn't find enough in the final minutes to hold onto the potential win. The Pacers came up with another tremendous comeback, but had so much to overcome that it eventually caught up to them when it came down to making shots and getting stops. The Nets were in control of the game entire first half with their shooting, and it was ultimately what helped them grab the win down the stretch. New Jersey scored 117 points, but had just 28 in the paint.
The Pacers defense had no answer for the scorching Nets in the first half, allowing a season high 69 first points. Deron Williams was a nightmare before Paul George was switched onto him in the third quarter, limiting a 30-point Williams to just three the rest of the game. The active Pacers defense made a huge push thanks to George putting the stops on Williams, but also in getting a solid game from #24, who had 14 second half points, scoring 21 on the night, including three three pointers.
Lance Stephenson pushed the tempo on the offensive end with George Hill, the duo getting out in the open court on every forced miss. The duo combined for 30 points and 16 assists on the night, with Hill scoring a 17 & 10 double double. David West's defense deserves a lot of credit in frustrating the Nets in the second half, but he was a matchup problem on the other side, taking it to Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans, scoring 26 with nine boards.
While more of a bi-product, West's positives helped unsettle Evans, who was going back and forth with West from before the tip, leading him to a pair of bonehead technicals, which allowed the Pacers to really key in on their comeback without Evans's rebounding inside to challenge the Pacers. Roy Hibbert had a quality game with 18 points and 10 boards, but again sat for a majority of the fourth in favor of Tyler Hansbrough, who was more successful in frustrating Brook Lopez.
The Nets had three scorers with 24 points, scored 117 points, a season high for the Pacers defense and hit 12 of their 25 three pointers, giving them a little extra bonus when it came to holding off the Pacers late. Indiana will look to get back in the win column in inching closer to the third seed when they travel to New York to take on the Knicks on Sunday.