The Indiana Pacers refused to make things easy, allowing the Brooklyn Nets to erase a 19-point second half deficit, but they managed to fare better than they did their last time in Brooklyn, closing the game on a 23-10 run to secure their third straight road win and fifth straight overall.
The similarities to their October 28th loss to the Nets were in plain sight as the Nets staged an all-too-familiar comeback on Indiana, getting a huge lift with six second half three pointers (all falling within a 37-16 run for the Nets that put them in the lead early in the fourth).
The Brooklyn comeback was staged with their bench, with the Nets controlling the second unit success, outscoring Indiana 63-28. The Nets hit 10 of their 11 three pointers off the bench and it’s where they found three of their four double figure scorers. Al Jefferson led the way off the bench for Indiana with 11, but there was very little bench contribution beyond a frustrated Monta Ellis losing the face mask and scoring nine.
From the outset, the Pacers were led by Jeff Teague, who scored 23 points and had seven assists and three steals. Teague scored nine points in the first four minutes of the game, helping Indiana kick off a fast start that cushioned their double figure lead in the first half. Teague lived at the free throw line, going 10-13, a perfect night except for a 0-3 trip on a three point shot.
Paul George led the way for Indiana with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but still lacked consistency in his shot, finishing 9-22. George did come up big for the Pacers late, scoring seven points in the final five minutes, turning a one-point lead into a nine-point win. George hit both of his shots in that stretch, responding well after the rookie Chris LaVert came up with an impressive steal on George that eventually pushed Brooklyn up two.
C.J. Miles finished with nine, hitting what would be the go-ahead three pointer with 7:20 in the game. Myles Turner had 11 points and three blocks, joining George to lead the team. The Pacers had 10 blocks on the night, three coming in the final six minutes as Indiana looked to hold onto the lead.
Unfortunately, the Pacers did take a loss with Thaddeus Young leaving the game early in the fourth after falling hard to the ground and spraining his wrist. The X-rays were negative according to Nate Taylor, and he is currently day-to-day. Young has played all 49 games for the Pacers this season and at more than one stretch has been the most important player for Indiana in overcoming bad stretches, making any doubts on his availability a concern against Detroit.
In the meantime, the Pacers improve to 27-22 on the season and will have a chance to complete their second straight back-to-back with a win when they return home to face the Detroit Pistons. Indiana is 2-0 against Detroit on the season, but the Pistons have played better ball of late as winners of two straight, though they too will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back.