Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers vs Nets
Scott Agness | January 30, 2014
The Pacers (35-10) face the Brooklyn Nets for the final time this season on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Nets are the hottest team in the NBA since the calendar turned the page. They are 10-2 in January as of Friday — already clinching their best January record in franchise history — with both losses to Toronto. During this stretch, the Nets have posted notable wins over Oklahoma City, Golden State, and Miami.
With a game Friday night against Oklahoma City, the Nets won’t arrive in Indianapolis until early Saturday morning. This season, they are 2-7 on the back end of a back-to-back.
Despite their recent success, this season has been a struggle for Brooklyn, to say the least. They hired freshly retired player Jason Kidd to head up their All-Star cast and they’ve dealt with both growing pains and injuries. Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson are their only two players to have played in every game thus far.
All-Star center Brook Lopez broke his right foot on Dec. 20 in a loss to Philadelphia and is done for the year. Andrei Kirilenko missed a lot of time with a back injury, but he’s back in the rotation and a big reason for their strong recent play. Point guard Deron Williams has also returned from an ankle injury, but hasn’t been reinserted into the starting lineup.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who were both acquired in an offseason blockbuster move with Boston, have seen their production cut in half this season. The two are averaging 13.3 and 6.9 points per game, respectively. Joe Johnson leads the Nets in scoring at 15.7 points per game.
For the Pacers, it’s about getting back to playing winning basketball. In their last six games, they’re just 3-3. Their defense, which has been by far the best in the league, has slipped up and allowed more than 101 points per game during that stretch. They'll need the first unit to get the team off to a strong start, and the bench to pick it up. Indiana’s second unit contributed a season-low seven points in a loss to Phoenix on Thursday.
Nets: Andray Blatche (game-time decision, bruised left hip), Andrei Kirilenko (out, sore right calf), Brook Lopez (out, fractured right foot)
“They’re an extremely talented team. Jason Kidd is a great basketball mind so there’s no surprise that he’s got them playing well. We’re going to have to play well to beat them.” – Frank Vogel on the Nets
“They got a chip on their shoulder because we beat them (three times). … I know they’re going to play with high energy.”– Lance Stephenson on the Nets
“I just feel like we're not bringing that edge. We're not getting back to really climbing into guys. We haven't forced turnovers the past few games because we're not bringing pressure and intensity. That's what we've got to get back to.” – Paul George
“We just got to compete at a high level early. In the middle of the first, end of the first, we kind of like let the lead go a little bit and then lead it upon the second unit to come in there and to either maintain or push the lead. We put them in a little bit of a disadvantage. We have to be able to finish out quarters so it can translate into a better second quarter.” – Roy Hibbert
- After dropping all three meetings with Brooklyn last year, the Pacers can sweep this year's four-game season series with a win.
- Roy Hibbert has a block in every game in his career against the Nets (20 games total).
- Brooklyn is 12-0 this season when holding its opponents below 95 points.
Dec. 28: Playing their first game in five days, the Pacers held to the Nets to just 35 points and dominated the paint over the final two quarters (20-6) in their 105-91 win. The Pacers shot 54 percent and assisted on 28-of-38 made field goals. They led by 10 points entering the fourth quarter and the Nets didn’t come any closer.
Indiana’s five starters all scored in double figures, with Paul George tallying a game-high 24 points. Lance Stephenson finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and George Hill scored 21. Paul Pierce led the Nets with 18 points and Mirza Teletoic had 17. Neither Andray Blatche (personal reasons) nor Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) played.
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/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
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