This was less a basketball game and more a fever dream from the Basketball Gods, who should’ve realized scheduling Nets-Pacers when both teams were on the second half of a back-to-back was a good idea after it was clear Paul George wouldn’t play.
Make no mistake about it: this was a difficult one to watch before the Pacers ripped off an extended 20-8 run to extend a 10-point lead into 22 early in the fourth quarter, before the Nets tried to rattle off one late run and failed, before they had to throw in their white-flag lineup with two minutes left in the game to end a depressing blowout.
This type of game happens every now and then in an 82-game season, but given Brooklyn’s current rickety status as a team looking to sell off their spare parts, it’s an ugly, ugly loss at a time when they’re just struggling to stay afloat: a 25-point blowout against a 10-20 team that’s the worst offense in the league outside of Philadelphia.
22 PTS, 10-15 FG, 1-2 3P, 6 REB, 2 AST, 5 TOV
Continued his scoring fury by dropping nine quick points in the first quarter and keeping the pressure on the paint throughout the game.
Eventually, the other shoe on his mid-range game is going to drop, and he’s started to show a couple of bad habits in running the offense. But he & Mason Plumlee have been the most consistently positive thing about this team in the past four games, and it’s hard to imagine him getting taken out of the starting lineup until that changes.
14 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3 REB, 1 AST
Has emerged as a solid role player on offense on a team that doesn’t have the stars to fit around him.
18 PTS, 4-12 FG, 6 REB, 6 AST
At some point, the Nets started going to Iso-Joe because it was the best option, and it actually worked: he drew a foul, kicked out to Sergey Karasev for an open corner three, found Kevin Garnett for a jumper on the right side, and more.
But Johnson, who’s got to be the safest bet of the Big 3 not to get traded at this point, isn’t the transcendent superstar that can do it alone on nights like this.
6 PTS, 1 REB, 4 PF
Went blow-for-blow with David West. No, really.
Foul trouble kept him out of most of the game.
9 PTS, 2-5 FG, 8 REB, 1 BLK
His worst game since entering the starting lineup: Plumlee had been on a tear as of late but struggled to do much against the paint-protecting Roy Hibbert.
7 PTS, 2-7 FG, 1-1 3P, 3 AST, 1 REB, 3 TOV
At this point it appears Williams will have to rip the starting spot out of Jarrett Jack’s firm clutches, and after a relatively solid-but-unspectacular return to the bench Friday night, Williams followed it up with a rough, sloppy, forgettable performance on both ends of the floor.
0 PTS, 0-5 FG, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK, 2 TOV
Hard to know what he can be when he’s healthy, or locked in. But right now, he’s neither.