Monday, December 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM ET at the Barclays Center

Game Preview: Pacers (22-5) at Nets (9-17)

Scott Agness | December 22, 2013

Matchup

In their final game before a brief Christmas break, the Pacers are in Brooklyn for the second time this season. The Nets swept the three-game season-series last season, but the Pacers took the first of four meetings in early November. In an odd move by the schedule makers, the Pacers have four days between games and then play the Nets against on Saturday in Indianapolis.

26 games in, Brooklyn’s (9-17) season hasn’t been as successful as they hoped. They have the highest payroll in the league, approximately $180 million, with a luxury-tax bill of about $80 million. That investment by Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov hasn’t panned out.

Injuries have played a big part in their disappointing start. The Nets have played with a league-high 227 different lineups this season, more than 100 more combinations than the Pacers. Brooklyn’s All-Star cast was only together for the first eight games. On Saturday, Brook Lopez was diagnosed with a fractured right foot, which will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season. It was the same bone that he fractured and had surgery on last season. Three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams recently missed nine games with an ankle sprain but he has played in the past four games.

The Nets have dropped two in a row and three of their past four games. An encouraging sign, however, is the play of Paul Pierce, who was acquired in a mega offseason deal with Boston that brought Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. In the last two games, Pierce is averaging 25.5 points on 81 percent shooting (17-for-21). That’s a big improvement on his 12 points per game and 37 percent shooting that averaged in his first 19 contests.

Indiana should be able to exploit Brooklyn’s poor defense, which gives up over 102 points per game and allows teams to shoot better than 45 percent. Over the last two games, the Pacers have had two thorough performances.

They’ve have averaged 110 points per game while holding their opponents to 38 percent. Defense typically travels, too. Keep in mind, however, that three of their five losses this year have come on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pacers seek their third-straight win before kicking back with their families to celebrate the holidays.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Deron Williams

Deron Williams

joe johnson

Joe Johnson

Alan Anderson

Alan Anderson

Mirza Teletovic

Mirza Teletovic

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Injury Update

Pacers: None
Nets: Jason Terry (doubtful, bruised left knee), Andrei Kirilenko (out, back spasms), Brook Lopez (out for the season, fractured right foot)

Quotable

“Very unfortunate. You hate to see stars go down. Nobody in the league likes to see it.” – Frank Vogel on Brook Lopez’s season-ending injury

“Well, we don’t want Grinch to come around. This will be a big game for us. We got to make sure that we pack whatever defense that we’ve playing this past couple of games and make sure we bring it to Brooklyn.” – Paul George

“Any given night, I think when people go down, the other people step up and it gives teams a sense of urgency. We still got to go in just like they’re one of the top teams in this NBA. They have a lot of great guys who can put the ball in the basketball. We just have to do what we do best, and that’s defend and share the ball on the offensive end.” – George Hill

Noteworthy

  • Over the last three games, the Nets have racked up 99 assists.
  • C.J. Watson played in Brooklyn last season and assistant coach Popeye Jones was on staff with the Nets from 2010-13.
  • Nets GM Billy King was an assistant coach for the Pacers under Larry Brown from 1993-1997.
  • This season, the Nets are 7-10 with Lopez in the lineup, and just 2-7 without him.

Last Meeting

Nov. 9: Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Pacers used a 16-5 third-quarter run and Paul George scored 16 points in the second half as the Pacers overcame a halftime deficit to win their first-ever game at the Barclays Center, 96-91.Their offense was stagnant in the first half and the ball wasn’t moving. They picked up in the final two quarters, got key defensive stops and made their free throws late. Paul George scored a game-high 24 points and David West accounted for 18. Going against Brook Lopez in the post, Roy Hibbert finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Nets guard Deron Williams finished with 17 points and 10 assists, Joe Johnson had 17 and Lopez chipped in 16. The Pacers were active on the offensive glass and finished with 20 second-chance points.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)

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