Dominant First Half Powers Nets Over Pacers


Final: 02/10/2021

W 104 94

The Nets were tasked with bringing defensive effort, and they did just that… for 24 minutes, at least.

After a stellar first half that saw the Nets take as large as a 36-point lead, Brooklyn held off a second-half push from the Pacers for a 104-94 victory on Wednesday. The victory ends the Nets’ three-game skid ahead of their upcoming west coast road trip.

Brooklyn’s first half was all about turning weaknesses into strengths. All of a sudden, the Nets were limiting turnovers, out-rebounding and, most importantly, defending! 

Particularly, the Nets fed off a strong all-around performance from DeAndre Jordan. After a lackluster performance against the Pistons, Jordan took up his challenge against Domantas Sabonis and protected the paint well while throwing down some highlight slams.

Brooklyn built its first-half scoring barrage off an aggressive gameplan that got the Nets to the line 26 times, which they took advantage of with 22 makes. Defensively, Brooklyn held the Pacers to just 30 points in the first half and held a 32-point lead at the break, their biggest halftime lead in 19 years. 

The Nets were limiting the Pacers in their strengths: points in the paint, layups and points off turnovers. Then the second half hit.

Indiana started to find a groove in the third quarter as it made adjustments in the paint and Sabonis started to get rolling. The Pacers also got hot from distance, shooting 15-of-38 from three while the Nets were only 9-of-31 from distance.

The Pacers got within 10 points of the Nets at the end and out-scored Brooklyn 64-42 in the second half, but the Nets had enough answers behind big performances from Kyrie Irving (35 points) and James Harden (19 points).

Jordan was largely quiet in the second half after recording a double-double in the first half, but it was very much a redemption game for him. Meanwhile, the Pacers got 43 points from their bench thanks to T.J. McConnell and Doug McDermott. 

The domination may have fallen off in the second half and it was not their best shooting night, but the Nets will obviously take a 10-point win any day. Brooklyn fed off their defensive effort in their strong showing after out-rebounding the Pacers 57-51 and out-scoring 44-40 in the paint. It was also a big accomplishment for Brooklyn to hold an opponent to under 100 points after seven straight games of allowing at least 120 points.

The Nets answered the call to bring intensity on both sides of the floor after an underwhelming showing against Detroit and had some fun, and now they are expected to get Kevin Durant back for the road trip. Though they showed great potential on Wednesday, they have to start stringing together that effort and communication against opponents of all skill levels. 

That effort will be tested as the Nets start their five-game west coast trip on Saturday against the Warriors. Expected to be at full strength, Brooklyn will have an opportunity to make some more statements. 

They fought for their pride on Wednesday. Now to fight for another win streak. 

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 35 PTS, 8-17 FG, 2-6 3PT, 17-17 FT, 4 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 35 MIN

Kyrie Irving, the free throw king.

Irving was aggressive all night as he recorded a career-high in free throws made and attempted. He helped set the tone from the start as the Nets were flowing offensively.

His finger did not seem to bother him as much as it did on Tuesday, or at least he was not visibly in pain. Irving also did a good job getting teammates involved on top of his own scoring, leading the team in assists for perhaps the first time since Harden’s arrival. That balance and purpose from him were great to see.

James Harden


The stats: 19 PTS, 4-13 FG, 1-6 3PT, 10-10 FT, 11 REB, 5 AST, 5 TO, 36 MIN

James Harden took a step back to Kyrie Irving tonight, and that is OK.

Harden worked to get his stepback going from three but hit just one shot from distance on the night. He also had some more trouble taking care of the ball with five turnovers on the night.

But for the positives: Harden joined Irving with top free-throw shooting and had a double-double in the first half on rebounds. He quieted down a bit in the second half, but he did just enough to attack the paint and help elevate his teammates while his shot was not falling.

Joe Harris


The stats: 17 PTS, 6-11 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 26 MIN

Joe was not the headline of the night, but he does not have to be to show his value.

Joe brought some much-needed production from distance, making one-third of the team’s makes on the night. He was also active in cutting to the rim and keeping the ball moving. 

Even better, Joe got a bit of rest with Tyler Johnson and Landry Shamet getting some more run time. That is a good benefit for Brooklyn going forward if those players can be efficient while sharing those minutes. 

DeAndre Jordan


The stats: 12 PTS, 5-8 FG, 2-4 FT, 13 REB, 1 AST, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 37 MIN

THIS is what we have been waiting for.

DeAndre overcame an early sloppy possession and went on to dominate his matchup against Sabonis. Irving and Harden found DeAndre inside often for some rim-rocking dunks while he held the Pacers to minimal points in the paint in the first half.

DeAndre did not score in the second half, but he held his ground with three offensive boards while taking care of the ball with just one turnover. He earns an A+ for responding to criticism and showing he can be an impact center for this team. 

Jeff Green


The stats: 7 PTS, 3-11 FG, 1-5 3PT, 3 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 24 MIN

His shot was not there, but the defensive impact was. 

Green provided good spacing while he was on the floor and helped to distribute the ball while his shot was not falling. He ended up as a team-high plus-23 despite his 3-of-11 performance from the field.

Steve Nash said Uncle Jeff was a leading voice for the Nets in their quest to improve off Tuesday’s game, and it showed. He brings the energy and understands his role both on and off the court, an invaluable piece for Brooklyn to have.