Notebook: Nets 117, Pacers 109

Posted Apr 12, 2013 10:52 PM

Conrad Brunner, for

THE FACTS: With the fourth seed secured, the Nets can start reaching for the next rung on the Eastern Conference Playoff ladder. After blowing a 24-point lead, then rallying to pull out a 117-109 victory Friday in Indiana, Brooklyn (47-32) clinched homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs and moved two games back of the No. 3 Pacers (49-30). Because the Nets swept the season series, they'd hold the tie-breaker over Indiana. Brooklyn's final three games are against lottery teams, while the Pacers face the Knicks and Celtics before closing the season against Philadelphia. While the Nets have surged to four straight wins, the Pacers have dropped three of four -- and needed to come back from a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Cleveland Tuesday. Deron Williams scored 33 to lead the Nets but limped out late in the game after banging knees with Paul George. Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez scored 24 apiece. David West scored 26 and George 21 for Indiana.

QUOTABLE: "It was a huge game for us. They're in front of us in the standings and there's a chance we can catch them."
-- Williams.

THE STAT: In the game's first 26 minutes, Williams shot 10-for-16 and scored 30 points. But Indiana coach Frank Vogel switched defensive assigments, putting George on Williams and the Nets guard missed his final seven field goal attempts went scoreless for more than 21 minutes before making three free throws in the final minute to help close the door.

TURNING POINT: With Williams scoring 25 of the Nets' 31 points, Brooklyn stretched a three-point lead midway through the second period to 24 early in the third quarter. George Hill helped spark another big second-half rally by Indiana, scoring 11 in a 29-9 run that cut the deficit to 85-81. A Lance Stephenson 3-pointer capped a 14-3 run in the fourth quarter to give Indiana its first lead of the game, 101-99, but it would also be the Pacers' last lead. Indiana came up empty on six of its next seven possessions as the Nets put together a 14-3 run to regain control.

QUOTABLE II: "It's hard to play much better than we did in the first half. We were ready to play."
-- Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo.

HOT: Williams made six straight shots in the second quarter. ... Lopez shot 10-for-16 for the Nets. ... Both Williams (5-for-10) and Johnson (4-for-8) made half their 3-point attempts for the Nets, who were 12-for-25 as a team. ... Jerry Stackhouse and C.J. Watson combined for 26 points and 8-for-12 shooting off the bench. ... West was 11-for-13 for Indiana.

NOT: Hill shot 5-for-15 and George 7-for-17 for Indiana. ... The Pacers' bench was outscored 33-14.

QUOTABLE III: "Clearly, we've got to start games with a bigger sense of urgency than we have in the last four games. To win in the playoffs you have to play with a sense of urgency in all four quarters."
-- Vogel.

NOTABLE: Williams' injury did not appear to be serious. He banged knees with Roy Hibbert early in the game and aggravated the same injury in the final minute when he collided with George. ... Gerald Wallace (lower leg contusion) did not play for the Nets. Keith Bogans started in his place and went scoreless. ... Kris Humphries picked up a technical foul for arguing a no-call with 8:59 left in the second quarter. ... Reggie Evans was ejected after picking up a pair of technical three minutes apart in the third quarter, the first for slamming the ball to the court and the second for throwing his headband and cursing with 5:38 left in the period. ... This was the second game in a row Indiana wiped out a deficit of at least 20 points in the second half. ... Indiana's magic number for clinching the third seed remains two. ... The Pacers fell three games behind the No. 2 Knicks. ... The Nets' final point total and 69 first-half points both were season highs against Indiana's second-ranked defense. ... Hill (17 points, 10 assists) and Hibbert (18 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles for Indiana. ... West fell one rebound shy. ... The Pacers dropped to 5-4 in front of home sellouts, including four losses in their last five.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Sunday @ New York, Tuesday @ Boston, Wednesday vs. Philadelphia. For the Nets, Sunday @ Toronto, Monday vs. Washington, Wednesday vs. Detroit.