Nets vs. Pacers

Paul George scores 23 points with 10 rebounds to lead the Pacers past the visiting Nets, 104-97.

Postgame 151218

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Nets vs. Pacers

Paul George scores 23 points with 10 rebounds to lead the Pacers past the visiting Nets, 104-97.
Dec 18, 2015  |  01:49

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Nets 151218

December 18, 2015 - The Indiana Pacers clinched their third straight win Friday night, beating the Brooklyn Nets 104-97. Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray breaks down the game and gets reaction from players and coaches.
Dec 18, 2015  |  02:48

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room 151218

December 18, 2015 - Paul George, C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey talk about the keys to their 104-97 victory over the Nets on Friday.
Dec 18, 2015  |  02:56

Jordan. Hill.

Paul George passes to Jordan Hill off the screen and Hill does the rest with the throw down over the defender.
Dec 18, 2015  |  00:23

And One For Paul George

Paul George gets the outlet pass, drives to the basket, draws the foul and hits the tough shot.
Dec 18, 2015  |  00:19

Budinger Rocks The Rim

Jordan Hill passes to Chase Budinger and Budinger rumbles down the lane for the two-handed slam.
Dec 18, 2015  |  00:22

Postgame: Frank Vogel Press Conference 151218

December 18, 2015 - Coach Frank Vogel discussed what it took for the Pacers to grind out their 104-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Dec 18, 2015  |  06:27

The Pacers With A 10-0 Run

The Indiana Pacers go on a 10-0 run during first quarter action.
Dec 18, 2015  |  00:25

Postgame: Nets Locker Room 151218

December 18, 2015 -After the Pacers' 104-97 win over the Nets on Friday night, Brooklyn head coach Lionel Hollins and players Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young, and Jarrett Jack react to the loss in the visitors' locker room.
Dec 18, 2015  |  02:11

Mahinmi Runs The Floor

C.J. Miles rewards Ian Mahinmi for running the floor and Mahinmi throws it down.
Dec 18, 2015  |  00:24

Former Mr. Basketballs at Pacers-Nets Game

December 18, 2015 - Pacers.com's Mark Montieth talks with former Indiana Mr. Basketballs Woody Austin (1988) and Lyndon Jones (1987) during the Pacers-Nets game about their new youth basketball camp.
Dec 18, 2015  |  02:46

Pacers Have Strength in Reserve

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

C.J. Miles was running through the Pacers' bench strength, which lately has carried them to unexpected heights in this makeover season and carried them to another victory on Friday.

He mentioned Solomon Hill and Glenn Robinson III, who aren't in the playing rotation but have contributed when given a chance. He mentioned rookie Joe Young, who has barely played but is "learning every day." He even mentioned Shayne Whittington and Rakeem Christmas, who are playing for the Development League affiliate in Fort Wayne and "can play if we bring them back up."

"We've got depth, with guys who play basketball the right way," Miles surmised.

One couldn't help but notice, Miles omitted Myles Turner from his roll call. Remember him? The Pacers' lottery pick in this year's draft? The guy who excelled in Summer League, averaging 18.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks? The guy who averaged 6.1 points on 55 percent shooting in eight regular season games before a fractured left thumb sent him to the injured list?

"I didn't even … see, I almost forgot about him," Miles said when reminded. "He'll make his name known when he starts playing again. We know what he's capable of."

That pretty much sums up the Pacers' depth at the moment. There are more capable players than a 48-minute game and a 12-man active roster can accommodate. Good problem to have, as they say, and it's exactly that for the Pacers as long as the guys outside the regular game night rotation continue to accept their fate.

The reserves were a major reason for Friday's 104-97 survival of Brooklyn at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, as they outscored the Nets' bench, 45-23. That marked the fourth consecutive game the Pacer backups have scored more than 40 points, and the sixth consecutive game they have outscored the opponent's backups. Over those games – against Golden State, Miami, Detroit, Toronto, Dallas and the Nets – the Pacers' reserves have dominated their counterparts, 239-163.

That can go a long way to pick up a starting unit that sometimes struggles to find a groove, as happened Friday when Brooklyn's starters outscored Indiana's 74-59.

The Pacers' appeared to have solid benches in past years, contributing to teams that reached the conference finals in 2013 and '14 and nearly made the playoffs last season despite a flurry of injuries. This year's group, however, has gone beyond solid. Friday, for example, Rodney Stuckey and Jordan Hill continued to do their thing of late: Stuckey had 15 points and seven rebounds and Hill had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Add eight points each from Lavoy Allen and Chase Budinger, and it was more than the Nets could handle.

The Pacers had been 0-8 in games in which they trailed or were tied entering the fourth quarter, and were down seven on Friday. But a lineup with four reserves and George Hill brought them back at the start of the period, creating momentum that carried through the rest of the game. Jordan Hill wound up playing the entire quarter and scored 12 points. Stuckey played seven minutes and scored six.

"This is how we're built," coach Frank Vogel said. "In the past we've been built with five starters and second-tier players as bench guys. Jordan Hill could be a starter, Rodney Stuckey could be a starter...we have good balance with that group."

Jordan Hill, who has started three games and sat out two, has five double-doubles this season and admittedly has exceeded Vogel's expectations. Only Paul George has more, with seven. Hill scored 10 of the Pacers' final 15 points, on (1) two free throws, (2) a reverse layup on a nice bound pass in the lane from Monta Ellis, (3) a 16-foot baseline jumper on a feed from George Hill, (4) a 10-foot jumper on a penetrating, underhand pass from Ellis and, (5) most dramatically, a vengeful dunk on a bounce pass from Paul George.

The bench contributions allowed the Pacers to get away with poor shooting games from most of the starters. Guards George Hill and Ellis combined to hit 4-of-19 shots. Miles was 4-of-12. Paul George was 7-of-15, with seven turnovers. The Pacers entered the game the second-best 3-point shooting team in the NBA, but were uncharacteristically just 7-of-28 in this one. The Nets were the worst 3-point shooting team, but were uncharacteristically 8-of-16.

"There will be nights like this," Miles said. "There are nights you just have to find a way to win it."

The Pacers are now 16-9, second in the Eastern Conference, just 1 ½ games back of Cleveland. They're on pace to win 52 games, more than anyone could have reasonably expected, and the bench is a major reason they've managed to find ways to win it most nights.

It's strength in numbers on those nights quality needs help from quantity.

"We have guys who can contribute at all the positions," George Hill said. "It's remarkable to see, we're actually a team that's 15 deep. Even the two guys down in the D-League could come in and play very well for us if they're called on. We've got a lot of guys ready to go to war."


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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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