The Indiana Pacers took Thursday night’s matchup 121-109, but the game felt over long before the final buzzer sounded. The Brooklyn Nets’ bench put together a run in the fourth quarter but were only able to trim the deficit to ten, before Kenny Atkinson waved the white flag and subbed out Brooklyn’s best scorer, who was, at the time, Justin Hamilton. As Paul George crushed his matchup against Bojan Bogdanovic for twenty-six points compared to just three for the Croatian.
The Nets and Pacers came in as teams headed in opposite directions, as Indiana has inched back to above .500 basketball and the Nets have lost three-straight since Randy Foye drilled the game-winner back on Boxing Day. If you go back even further, the Nets have lost seven of their last eight, and sit at 8-25, last in the NBA.
The Nets made one change to their starting lineup, their thirteenth unique version in just thirty-four games as Joe Harris got the start at shooting guard and Sean Kilpatrick returned to the bench. Jeremy Lin, Chris McCullough and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were out, which created an interesting matchup at small forward. Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets’ longest and best defender, would usually draw the assignment of Pacers’ star Paul George, but Caris LeVert picked up those minutes at times.
Unfortunately, the Nets looked more ready for a 7:30pm start, the only problem was that the game started at 7:00 — and the Pacers jumped out to a 16-5 lead, as the Nets hit just two of their first eleven shots. Brooklyn went to their bench early looking for a spark and found it with Justin Hamilton. Matched up with Kevin Seraphin, Hamilton drilled a pair of three-pointers and smartly followed a pick-and-roll to the rim for the easy tip-in.
Indiana lead 34-27 after the first quarter after Pacers’ backup guard Aaron Brooks hit a half-court shot at the buzzer. Hamilton’s eight points was a Nets-high, and Trevor Booker added seven of his own. Seven of the nine Pacers that saw playing time in the first scored, including Jeff Teague’s seven points.
Nineteen of the Nets first thirty-one came from the bench players, as the reserves kept the visitors in the game, allowing the starters to return down just four in the second quarter. The Nets weathered the first quarter storm and found their game around the early parts of the second quarter, tying the game at forty. A Trevor Booker three-pointer with four minutes left in the second gave the Nets their first lead at 48-46.
The Nets got a late spark from Brook Lopez, who was on the other side of a poster dunk for the first time in a while, but trailed 59-52 at the half.
GET OUT OF THE WAY MYLES TURNER pic.twitter.com/4H70gw1g3Z
— Justis Doucet (@JDouce18) January 6, 2017
Trevor Booker was the only Net in double figures with fourteen points, but nine of the eleven players scored, only Bojan Bogdanovic and Rany Foye were held off the scoreboard. The Pacers were lead by 15-4-4 from Jeff Teague, and another twelve points from Paul George.
The third quarter Nets were up to their usual antics, and now we even have a hashtag #ThirdQuarterNets.
The Nets entered the fourth down thirteen, 97-84, thanks to twenty-two points from Paul George and near triple-double numbers of 19 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds from Jeff Teague. Booker’s sixteen lead all Nets scorers and Spencer Dinwiddie added eleven of his own.
The Nets came up with a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to eleven with seven minutes to go, as Luis Scola went on a personal 5-0 run.
In the end, however, it wasn’t enough, and Atkinson subbed in Anthony Bennett for Hamilton and waived the white flag. The Nets fell for the twenty-seventh time of the season by a 121-109 score. Three Pacers scored more than twenty points in Paul George (26), Myles Turner (25 points and 15 rebounds), and Jeff Teague (21).
Oh, and they play the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow.
12 PTS, 5/14 FG, 6 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TOV
Another night, another Brook Lopez poster, except this time, Lopez provided the Kodak moment reaching over Myles Turner for the slam. What should have been a spark for the Nets ultimately fired up Indiana, who went on a 12-0 run after the dunk. Lopez was out-duelled by Pacers center Myles Turner’s 22 points and 15 rebounds. Without Jeremy Lin, the Nets just aren’t good enough to compete with numbers like tonight from Lopez.
3PTS, 1/7 FG, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 1 TOV
Bogdanovic was one of just two Nets to be held off the scoresheet in the first half, and did not hit a shot until his sixth attempt of the night. Bogdanovic was tasked with a difficult matchup in Paul George, who got whatever he wanted on offense, if you’re the Nets you need Bogdanovic to at least put up similar numbers for a chance to win. Bojan played just twelve minutes in the game.
16 PTS, 7/11 FG, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 1 TOV
Booker lead the Nets in scoring for most of the night, and the Nets should be happy with his contribution, except he shouldn’t be leading the team in scoring. Booker was matched up with former Net Thaddeus Young and stretched out the Pacers defense when he was able to hit his outside shots. He was efficient shooting the ball and connected on both of his threes, but you can not look away from that plus/minus, -29 in just nineteen minutes.
16 PTS, 6/9 FG, 8 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 0 TOV
New year, new Justin Hamilton? Maybe, as Hamilton shot 2/2 from three in the first half when the Nets desperately needed it down early. Although his other basket was just a tip-in, it was nice to see Hamilton following the play for the offensive rebound instead of being content with his outside shooting. Hamilton played just 22 minutes, second least of all Brooklyn big men and provided the Nets with valuable bench scoring, while still shooting the ball efficiently.
13 PTS, 4/12 FG, 8 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TOV
With Joe Harris starting in his place, Sean Kilpatrick returned to the bench and picked up his rotation production right where he left off. Although he didn’t shoot the ball well, Kilpatrick contributed in other areas, nearly posting a points/rebounds double-double.