The Indiana Pacers paired one of their most efficient offensive outputs of the season with one of the least efficient defensive outputs. Not surprisingly, this allowed the Brooklyn Nets to stay alive throughout the night. The Pacers built comfortable leads in each quarter, but time and time again, the Nets closed the gap, eventually breaking the Pacers despite Indiana holding a 10-point fourth quarter lead.
That included an eight point first quarter lead that Brooklyn trimmed to three and a 14-point second quarter lead became just six at the half. In the third, the Nets exploded for an early quarter lead, but thanks to their one good stretch of defense all night, Indiana pushed the game back in their favor to go up 11. Costly turnovers as a response once again opened the door Brooklyn, who pulled within five.
The difference to end the third was the play of Paul George, who lifted to an eight point lead heading into the fourth, but it was hardly enough to keep the Nets down, who used a 17-3 run to push into the lead with four minutes remaining in the game. Indiana had no problem scoring, but neither did Brook Lopez, who schooled Ian Mahinmi time and time again leading the Nets to the win thanks to a 35-17 fourth quarter.
Indiana shot a scorching 57% through the first three quarters, but came back down to earth in the fourth thanks to an awful shooting fourth quarter. Despite the solid shooting early, it was turnovers and defense that allowed the Nets to shoot 54.5 on the night%. Turnovers were a problem for the Pacers at the worst time, finishing with 19, which allowed the Nets 23 points.
Indiana did mostly minimize the damage of those mistakes by forcing 20 Nets turnovers and scoring 24 points off of those, but it was moot in the end because the damage was more than felt as the game progressed. Indiana entered the night 1-14 on the season when opponents shoot over 50%, which came into play down the stretch as the Nets continued to hit shots. The Nets were able to pad their shooting with a free throw advantage, outshooting Indiana 31-25.
Paul George led the way with 27 points for Indiana, using big first and third quarters to compile his numbers on the night. Entering the game probable with his leg contusion, he looked good if a little ginger on the leg. This resulted in some misses, but he still came up with some big plays in the fourth, which was unfortunately offset by turnovers, where he had four, including two in the closing minutes.
Ian Mahinmi had a big first quarter, scoring 18 points on the night on 6-7 shooting. Mahinmi was especially good at the line, going 6-8, but had no answer for play of Lopez late. Jordan Hill helped secure a good offensive outing for the front line with a double figure night of 12 points while both Myles Turner and Lavoy Allen scored six apiece. George Hill had 17 points of his own on 7-8 shooting while C.J. Miles scored 12 with three threes.
Combined, the two hit five threes on a night the Pacers held a healthy advantage behind the arc, shooting 11-24 deep while the Nets were just 5-12, though four came from Bojan Bogdanovic, who was in position to kill the Pacers time and time again. His play opened up things for Brook Lopez, who exploded in the fourth, scoring 14 of his 23 in the fourth. Indiana also struggled mightily against Brooklyn's backup guard rotation of Sean Kirkpatrick (14 points) and Donald Sloan (11 points).
Indiana teased the Nets all night, and in the end, it cost them a game they had no business losing. Indiana losing a game they should've won is no surprise, but the fashion in which they continue to give these games away provides them with no solace. So instead of building wins and seizing opportunities, the Pacers will now be faced with hoping their opponents inch them closer to the playoffs instead, looking at a tough back-to-back matchup against the Houston Rockets at home tomorrow night.