The Nets came into Indianapolis riding the high of a close win over their cross-town rivals where Caris LeVert was the hero. The Pacers were trying to bounce back after a trouncing by the Bucks where All-Star Victor Oladipo’s efforts were just not enough.
The stage was set for a high tempo clash on the perimeter — and that’s exactly what this game delivered.
As a unit, the Nets shot a great 43.2% from the three-point line, with Caris LeVert, D’Angelo Russell, and Joe Harris all letting it fly and finding success multiple times throughout the night.
Unfortunately, the Pacers were throwing up missiles, producing an ungodly 66.7% from three.
In the first half, the Nets had some recurring issues rear its ugly head, such as sloppy turnovers and a weak paint presence. Despite this, the Nets actually held a lead in the second quarter before the Pacers went on a 14-2 run going into halftime.
The boys in black played above their usual standards coming out of the break, only being outscored by one point in the third quarter — a welcomed sight given their typically nerve-wracking performances after the break. Early in the fourth quarter, LeVert became more aggressive in his drives to the basket, but things quickly fell apart.
Sadly, the Nets couldn’t overcome the large turnover difference — 20 to 10 in favor of the Pacers — like they did against the Knicks.
The stats: 19 PTS, 8-9 FG, 2-3 3PT, 4 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 4 TOs
Caris LeVert slowed down from his amazing start ever-so-slightly tonight against the Pacers, but he still put up 19 extremely-efficient points. The main criticism here is that he didn’t become more aggressive sooner and take more shots. While it was impressive to watch him slice through the Pacers’ bigs midway through the fourth quarter, the game was already starting to slip through the Nets’ fingers.
Even so, LeVert is off to quite the start this season.
The stats: 12 PTS, 5-9 FG, 2-5 3PT, 6 REB, 2 TOs
Rodions Kurucs continues to impress in limited minutes. He plays with a ton of energy and is lethal on the fast break. It’s easy to forget that he is a 20-year-old rookie…
Right now, Kurucs can get a little too eager, like fouling to slow down the Pacers’ offense when the Nets were over the limit. However, that’s a trade-off that Atkinson is willing to make thus far and his energy has been infectious.
Although Kurucs left tonight’s game with a sprained ankle, it will be very interesting to watch Kurucs develop in Atkinson’s system as the season progresses.
The stats: 12 PTS, 5-16 FG, 2-5 3PT, 6 REB, 7 AST, 1 BLK, 3 TO
After starting the game off with some silly turnovers, D’Angelo Russell quietly put up some solid numbers once again. While not taking over the game as he did when he debuted for the Nets against the Pacers last year, it is still an improvement from his previous games.
The stats: 8 PTS, 4-7 FG, 3 REB, 1 BLK, 4 TO
It was a tough night for Jarrett Allen as he was repeatedly abused by the Pacers’ bigs. His presence, or lack thereof, was most obviously felt in the difference of points in the paint, 58 to 40 in favor of the Pacers.
The second half was a slightly better showing as he started to assert himself in the offense more, scoring 6 of his 8 points after halftime. However, it is still obvious that the Nets are missing DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on the defensive end — so Allen gets some slack in that department.
After two stellar performances to start the year, this was a slight step back for Allen.
The stats: 19 PTS, 6-11 FG, 5-6 3PT, 2 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO
Joey Buckets was a laser-locked sharpshooter this game, scoring 15 of his 19 points from the three-point line. He also came up with clutch baskets when the team desperately needed it the most — nearly keeping the Nets alive before the game broke open in the fourth.