The NBA gifted the Brooklyn Nets quite a present in the holiday season — a back-to-back set just before Christmas Eve. That appeared to not be too much of an issue for Brooklyn… at least for the first half.
The Nets picked up right where the left off from Friday night — lighting it up early against the Pacers. Spencer Dinwiddie, Tyler Zeller and Caris LeVert were all locked in, converting on all of their field goals in the first quarter. (For Dinwiddie, he was all money on three triples.) Brooklyn led by as many as 12 points in the opening six and a half minutes.
The Pacers made an attempt at a comeback toward the end of the first, with Cory Joseph, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis leading the pack. However, a step back two-pointer and three-pointer by Caris LeVert helped quell the Pacers’ momentum. Brooklyn led 28-21 after one quarter.
Things continued to look up for the Nets in the second quarter. Powered by a couple of close-to-the-basket shots by DeMarre Carroll and five triples in this period, Brooklyn quickly went back up by double digits. The Nets even extended their lead to 19 points at one point. At halftime, Brooklyn held a 57-41 advantage.
Ball movement was key for the Nets in the first half. 16 of the team’s 22 field goals were assisted.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Pacers were absolutely lethal at chipping into the Nets’ lead. Indiana went on an unanswered 11-0 run, with Oladipo, Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic contributing. (Also, aside from Bogie’s shot, the Pacers’ shots were all assisted by Bogie and Thaddeus Young, two former Nets.) That brought Indiana to a 57-52 deficit.
The Nets briefly went back up by double digits thanks to a 7-0 run. However, Indiana dominated the third quarter, out-scoring the Nets 39-24. The Pacers went on to take a 69-68 lead with 3:21 remaining, and the rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. Brooklyn regained some composure to remain competitive despite being heavily limited, and still led 81-80 heading into the final period.
For the first three and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams appeared to be evenly matched, as things slowed down. Then, Bogdanovic and Lance Stephenson spearheaded an 11-0 run for the Pacers, and Indiana took a commanding 93-84 lead with 7:14 remaining.
Brooklyn showed some signs of life in the fourth, though the team did not make much headway until one particular moment with under two minutes remaining. At the 1:23 mark of the fourth, Allen Crabbe hit a desperately-needed three-pointer and drew a foul. That cut the Nets’ deficit to four points, 107-103.
With 54 seconds to go in regulation, Carroll made it a two-point game, 108-106, with a three of his own. Collison responded with a jumper of his own to bring Indiana’s lead back up to four.
Out of a Nets timeout, LeVert was off the mark on a shot, but Hollis-Jefferson hustled for the rebound and converted on a tough shot. The Nets fouled Myles Turner on the following Pacers possession, and Turner split the pair, making the Pacers’ lead 111-108.
With 19.9 seconds remaining in regulation, Dinwiddie evened things up at 111 after Joseph fouled him on a three-point attempt and he hit all three free throws. The ball was in Indiana’s court on the next play, but Oladipo was off the mark on a triple at the end of regulation.
Cue overtime basketball.
Extra basketball began with a three-point shootout, as Dinwiddie and Bogdanovic each knocked down one trey. Dinwiddie continued to come up big, hitting another two-pointer to bring the Nets within one, 117-116, with 2:52 to go in overtime.
With 46 seconds remaining, Carroll converted on a three-pointer to tie the game at 119. Oladipo then hit two free throws to put Indiana back up by two.
Despite getting a good look and with a chance to bring the Nets back up, Dinwiddie was off the mark on a triple. Indiana sealed the deal with two more free throws from Oladipo, and Brooklyn’s comeback attempt fell just short.
This is the last Nets basketball we’ll get until after Christmas, so ho ho ho and Happy Holidays, everyone!
The stats: 26 PTS, 8-20 FG, 5-11 3PT, 5-5 FT, 8 AST, 1 TOV, 39 MIN
Despite his missed three-pointer in overtime that could have put Brooklyn on top, Spencer Dinwiddie was still quite impressive. He was the reason the Nets had any chance at a comeback in this game, so credit is due where it’s deserved.
The stats: 20 PTS, 7-17 FG, 4-10 3PT, 2-2 FT, 13 REB, 4 AST, 1 TOV, 36 MIN
A typical impressive performance by Junkyard Dog in the scoring and rebounding departments. Plus, two of his three-pointers were vital to the Nets in the final minutes of both regulation and overtime.
The stats: 18 PTS, 7-18 FG, 4-6 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TOV, 37 MIN
Rondae was coming off an incredible near-triple-double night, so that was definitely a lot for him to live up to. He finished high in the Nets’ leaders in scoring, though his shooting was not that great.