The Indiana Pacers are getting solid play from their new point guard, while the New Jersey Nets are playing poorly without their top young floor general.
T.J. Ford and the Pacers try to beat the Nets for the second time in five days on Wednesday, as New Jersey may again be without an injured Devin Harris.
Ford was traded from Toronto to Indiana (3-3) in the offseason and has stepped in nicely, averaging 17.0 points and 6.0 assists for his new club. He had season highs of 24 points and 10 assists on Monday in a 107-99 victory over Oklahoma City, including 11 points in the fourth quarter.
"Sometimes you're going to be able to make those shots, sometimes you're not," Ford said. "Fortunate enough, they went in tonight."
The Pacers are looking for a third straight win after beating New Jersey 98-80 on Saturday. Ford nearly had his first career triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in that game as Indiana took advantage of Harris' absence due to a sprained left ankle.
Harris also sat out Monday's 99-94 loss at Miami. New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said there's "a pretty good chance" Harris will miss the game on Wednesday as well.
"If he's able to get back Wednesday, then he'll go," Frank said. "He's officially listed as day to day, but that's the assessment of where it stands right now."
A big defensive second half keyed Saturday's win for Indiana. The Pacers held the Nets (2-4) to eight baskets after halftime, after New Jersey shot 50 percent from the field in the first half to take a 51-49 lead into the locker room.
"Our guys took it upon themselves to kick it into another gear, and when you play with that type of defensive disposition, good things generally happen," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said.
Vince Carter scored 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field in the first two quarters, but scored only 11 points after the break.
"They turned up the intensity," Frank said. "Our shots were poor. They beat us in all the main areas of the game, and our offensive efficiency really hurt us."
Indiana forward Danny Granger has posted two 33-point efforts in the Pacers' first two road games this season, but both were losses for Indiana.
The Nets blew a 10-point lead with 5:48 left Monday en route to their second straight defeat. Yi Jianlian had a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey.
One reason for the loss was Josh Boone's 1-for-4 effort from the line in the final 4:03. Boone, who airballed a free throw for the second straight game, is shooting 26.7 percent (4-for-15) on foul shots for the season.
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