The Indiana Pacers faltered defensively yet again as they suffered their fifth straight loss at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets. The Pacers spent much of the first half weathering a hot Brooklyn team they were hoping were going to crash down after a triple overtime game the night before. The Nets shot over 70% in the second quarter, forcing Indiana to keep pace offensively, trailing 61-56 at the break.
Indiana appeared to be off to the races halfway through the third quarter when they overcame the deficit and opened up a 78-74 lead, but Brooklyn used one of their timely runs to put Indiana in the rearview again. The Pacers regained near the end of the third, but three points from Brook Lopez gave the Nets the lead at the end of the third as part of an 11-0 run they would use to push their lead to nine to open the fourth.
The Pacers cut the lead to one, but that's as close as they would get as the Nets continued their hot shooting, pushing the score higher and higher eventually closing out a 123-111 win, leaving Indiana once again searching for defensive answers after a rather solid defensive outing last night in Cleveland.
There was no lack of offense for the Pacers tonight; six players reached double figures, led by George Hill with 18 points and nine assists, but a huge hole in the defense kept things easy for the Nets, who shot 61.3% on the night, including a cool 6-12 from three point range and a robust advantage at the line, outscoring Indiana 25-13. The Pacers had to deal with the loss of Rodney Stuckey with a left calf in the second half.
While Stuckey had made a minimal impact in his time on the floor, Indiana struggled in relying on C.J. Miles and C.J. Watson. Miles began hot, hitting four straight threes, but plummeted after, finishing with 14 points while Watson blanked from the floor with 0-6 shooting for zero points, all threes. The two also combined for four of Indiana's nine turnovers on the night.
Luis Scola led the bench with 17 points, with David West returning and shooting better, finishing with 13 on 6-9 from the floor. Roy Hibbert also shot well at 7-14 for 16 points, but was outplayed by Brook Lopez, who finished with a game high 26 points and four blocks.
Indiana remains in ninth place despite the loss, up on percentage points against Charlotte, who sit idle tonight. The Pacers are now 2 1/2 games out of the seventh spot and have allowed the Nets to regain their spot in the playoff race after fading recently. The Pacers will start searching for wins, beginning in an unlikely place against the Houston Rockets at home on Monday.