Nets Shut Down O'Neal, Cruise to Easy Victory

by Conrad Brunner

April 22, 2002

STAR OF THE GAME

JASON KIDD
Controlling the flow of the game, offensively, Kidd was a force throughout, racking up 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, narrowly missing his first career postseason triple-double.
UNSUNG HERO

REGGIE MILLER
In a performance reminiscent of last year's first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia, Miller was brilliant but he was all the Pacers had, offensively. He scored 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
QUOTEBOOK

ISIAH THOMAS
"I thought they did a good job just in terms of banging (Jermaine O'Neal) around. They banged him around a lot, got pretty physical with him in the low post and whenever he got the basketball they did a good job in terms of contesting and defending him."
STAT OF THE GAME
After scoring 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting in Game 1, Jermaine O'Neal produced just 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting in Game 2.
HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points off turnovers: Nets 21, Pacers 13
Points in the paint: Nets 38, Pacers 20
Second-chance points: Nets 15, Pacers 11
Fast-break points: Nets 16, Pacers 9
Starters scoring: Nets 62, Pacers 52
Bench scoring: Nets 33, Pacers 27
79
95

ROUND 1, GAME 2
April 22, 2002
Continental Airlines Arena
East Rutherford, NJ
END RESULT
Playing with an aggression borne of a sense of desperation, the Nets seized control in the second half and shut down the Pacers' vaunted inside game, coasting to a 95-79 victory on Monday night in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series as Jason Kidd dominated with 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

WHAT IT MEANS
Even with the defeat, the Pacers still came away from the first two games with a split and homecourt advantage. They can win the series without going back to New Jersey with the next two games of the best-of-five series in Conseco Fieldhouse.

UP NEXT
The Pacers will take Wednesday off before resuming practice Thursday for Game 3, which comes Friday at 7:30 p.m. (central) in Conseco Fieldhouse.

TURNING POINT
Trailing by 11 at the half, 49-38, the Pacers opened the third period with a quick 10-2 burst to cut the Nets' lead to 51-48. But Kidd quickly took over the game, scoring three of New Jersey's next four baskets and assisting on the other. The effect was to settle down the Nets and shut down the Pacers, who were outscored 27-12 over 10½ minutes to fall into an 80-62 hole early in the fourth period.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Reggie Miller was it for the Pacers. he scored 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting; the rest of the team combined for 53 points on 19-of-56 shooting (.339). O'Neal scored 12 and shot 3-of-11 from the field in 38 minutes. Brad Miller had 10 points in 36 minutes. No Pacers player had more than six rebounds or five assists. The Nets had good balance, with Kidd's 20 points leading the way. Kenyon Martin bounced back nicely with 19 points. Keith Van Horn scored 17 and Aaron Williams provided a big lift off the bench with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes. Kidd had team highs in points, rebounds (10) and assists (nine). The Nets shot .429 and outrebounded the Pacers 41-37, scoring 21 points off 21 Indiana turnovers. All five Pacers starters had at least two turnovers.

STRATEGY/PERSONNEL
All the pregame talk of New Jersey's aggressive double-teams and swarming schemes to thwart O'Neal turned out to be a bluff. Instead, the Nets played him largely straight-up most of the game, which seemed to confuse O'Neal. He constantly caught the ball on the post and waited for extra defenders to arrive, rather than making a quick one-on-one move, and the offensive stagnated. When the Nets did double, they were soft doubles that did not open passing lanes for O'Neal. Foul trouble to Jamaal Tinsley pushed Kevin Ollie into 29 minutes of action and he was unable to contend with Kidd. The second unit as a whole was largely ineffective once again, with no individual providing a needed spark. The Pacers continue to search for offense from the small forward position, as Ron Artest was 1-of-11 in the game and is 5-of-25 in the series. Backup Jonathan Bender has produced four points in 17 minutes.

NOTEWORTHY
  • The Nets made the first big move, closing the half on a 15-3 run to take an 11-point lead into the break. Kidd scored 10 points in that run, during which Tinsley and Ron Artest both picked up their third fouls. The Pacers made just one basket in the final 5:50 of the half, and just one in the final 8:43. The Nets outrebounded the Pacers 13-5 in the second period, racking up a 13-1 edge in second-chance points in that quarter alone.
  • Brad Miller was hit with a Type 1 Flagrant Foul midway through the fourth period when he tangled with a driving Van Horn, who made both free throws then dropped in a hook shot to complete the four-point possession by giving the Nets an 88-68 lead with 5:17 remaining.
  • Ron Mercer made his first basket in four games, but was 1-of-4 from the field in 14 minutes off the bench.
  • When the coaches cleared their benches in the fourth quarter, rookie guard Jamison Brewer played for the first time since March 1 and scored his first point since Dec. 2.
  • The Nets have outscored the Pacers 80-46 in the paint and 31-15 on the fast break thus far in the series.