Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 105, Nets 91
Scott Agness | December 28, 2013
It had been nearly a week since the Pacers had last played. Five days, actually, but it felt like an eternity in the NBA, where four games in a week is common. The Brooklyn Nets on the other hand, had played both on Christmas Day and Friday night.
The Pacers (24-5) held the Nets (10-20) to just 35 points in the second half and controlled play out of the locker room as they've done most of this season, picking up their fourth consecutive win, 105-91, in front of a sold-out crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
From the start, the Pacers didn’t show signs of rust on the offensive end. They scored their first 12 points of the game in the paint, and used a 6-0 spurt to take their largest lead of the half, 16-8. Nets forward Kevin Garnett, who finished with just two points, was whistled for two quick fouls, limiting him to three minutes in the opening quarter. Lance Stephenson, who tallied a career-high 26 points last game, which was also against the Nets, was active from the tip. By quarter’s end, the Pacers led by two with Stephenson contributing two points, four rebounds and five assists.
Shortly into the second quarter, the Nets took their first lead of the game, and it exchanged hands eight times in the period. The Nets outscored the Pacers 16-8 in the first five minutes, but the Pacers, led again by Stephenson, worked their way back. He had 12 of Indiana’s 29 points in the quarter as they maintained a two-point lead between halves.
In the locker room, the Pacers observed and discussed the defensive breakdowns that needed to be corrected, as they typically do. Vogel also felt that they spent most of the first half getting a feel for the Nets. The Pacers noted how few times the Nets had turned it over — just four — and thus emphasized being more aggressive and active with their hands on the defensive end.
Out of the break, the Pacers did just that and got back to their principles on defense, which has them leading the league. On five early possessions, they stole the ball four times and then converted them into points on the other end. With just over a minute to play in the third, George Hill buried a timely 3-pointer to put the Pacers in front by 12. In the stanza, the Pacers shot 69 percent and outscored the Nets in the paint, 14-2, for a double-digit advantage. The Nets never got within two possessions the rest of the way.
Brooklyn, the oldest team in the league, was chatty most of the game — whether it was being in Stephenson’s ear or slowing up a Paul George foul shot. The Pacers handled it well for the most part, and kept playing. They limited Brooklyn to just five shots in the final quarter, as they captured their third win of the season over the Nets.
Inside the Numbers
All five of Indiana’s starters scored in double figures, led by Paul George’s 24 points. It was his 22nd time this season with 20 or more. With three 3's tonight, he moved into seventh place in franchise history for 3-point field goals made (378), surpassing Austin Croshere.
Lance Stephenson flirted with a triple-double and finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. George Hill had a steady night. He had 21 points, four rebounds and four assists while also keeping both Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston in check.
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Roy Hibbert kept two streaks intact. He has swatted at least one shot in all 29 games this season, and every game (20) that he’s faced the Nets in his career.
Paul Pierce scored a team-high 18 points for the Nets, and Mirza Teletovic, had 17. At point guard, Williams scored 14 points and handed out six assists.
The Pacers shared the ball very well, assisting on 28-of-38 field goals (74 percent), one assist shy of their season-high.
RELATED: Unselfish Pacers Share the Wealth »
During their current four-game win streak, the Pacers have won by an average of 22.8 points and shot 48 percent.
With 105 points, the Pacers topped the century mark for the tenth time this season (9-1).
“It’s tough to beat a team three times in a short period of time like we faced these guys, especially winning in a double-digit game in their building. … It’s never easier the second time so I was proud of our guys for gutting it out, and playing through a five-day rest which they aren’t used to doing.” – Frank Vogel
“I thought George Hill was our best player tonight. I thought he played exceptional defense on Deron Williams, who’s kind of the head of the snake of their offensive attack. He battled him all night and then every time we needed a big basket, George Hill hit a timely 3 or made a timely play. I think he was our best player tonight.” – Frank Vogel
“Defense is the name of the game. We came out much too slow early. … Coach challenged us [at half]. We knew we had to pick it up and get the defense moving again.” – George Hill
“It’s actually fun playing with each other, knowing that nobody cares who’s scoring the most points. We’re just playing together and making smart plays to get each other open.” – Lance Stephenson
“I don’t care. They can do whatever they want to do. We’ve seen it all before. We got the win. I don’t know if we play them one more time, but we’ll be ready again.” – Roy Hibbert on the Nets being chatty
Stat of the Game
Although the Nets committed just 13 turnovers, the Pacers made them count and turned him into 22 points.
- Indiana’s win ended Brooklyn’s two-game winning streak in Indianapolis.
- Kevin Garnett picked up a technical in the first quarter, his fourth of the year. Hibbert was tagged with his first of the season with less than a minute to play.
- The Nets opened the game with their 14th different starting lineup of the season.
- The Nets were without Andray Blatche (personal reasons), Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), and Brook Lopez (fractured right foot).
Tuesday, Dec. 31 vs Cleveland – 3 p.m. EST