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Game Rewind: Pacers 129, Nets 105

Game Recap

On April 15, 2015, the Pacers lost the their last game of the season after winning six straight in a mad-dash effort to make the postseason. The loss to Memphis eliminated the Pacers from making the playoffs for the first time in five seasons under head coach Frank Vogel and sent the Pacers into the offseason with a disappointing ending.

But it wasn't all bad news.

The missed playoff trip sent the Pacers to the draft lottery, where they selected Myles Turner. And in a game against the Nets on Sunday night — the same team whose tiebreaker advantage kept the Pacers out of the playoffs last season — the Pacers proved their one-year playoff absence was just an outlier, destroying the Nets 129-105 and clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference for the fifth time in the last six years. And Turner, the consolation prize for a trying season the year before, played a key role in the win, scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

"The first and second unit came out and played with great energy tonight," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "All year we felt we had a team that could do damage in the playoffs. It was about getting it done to get there."

The Hickory night victory, even against a team as decimated by injuries as the Nets, is big news for Indiana, who dropped their last game to the Raptors despite Toronto resting four of its six top players.

Additionally, the win knocks the division-rival Bulls out of the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The only question that remains for the Pacers is whether they'll end up as the eighth or seventh seed in the postseason. But after the Pacers handed the Nets a whopping 24-point loss, it's possible head coach Frank Vogel will look to rest key players like Paul George — who has been bothered by a sore left ankle — over the final two games.

In the first half, the Pacers got hot quick and didn't let up, breaking out to a 28-point lead at halftime.

From early on in the first quarter, it was clear that the Pacers had an edge on the Nets, who were resting Brook Lopez, their best offensive player. After going on a 14-3 run in the first six minutes, the Pacers ended the first quarter leading 39-19, their season-high for the opening quarter.

FINAL REGULAR SEASON HOME GAME: 4/12 vs Knicks »

In the second quarter, Turner came off the bench and quickly piled up stats against the smaller Nets frontline, scoring 12 points and snaring seven rebounds in just 11 minutes of action.

The play from the Pacers' second unit, coupled with an explosive start to the game, led to their sizable 69-41 lead to start the second half.

"It was a big point of emphasis — the way we came out," George Hill explained after the win. "In Toronto, we didn't come out the way that was planned. We had to redeem ourselves and come out and take care of our own court. Coach challenged us. He said the starters didn't get off to a good start at Toronto. He wanted us to come out and set the tempo for the second unit. I think we did a great job of that today."

The third quarter was when the Pacers truly seized control of the game, starting the half on a 19-5 run and leading by as much as 42 points as the game turned into an offensive exhibition.

By the time the final frame began, the Pacers led 104-72, in cruise control en route to the 2016 Playoffs.

The lead allowed Indiana to give much-needed rest to PG and the rest of the starters, as the second unit and deeper bench players finished out the fourth quarter and kept Brooklyn at a safe distance.

When Indiana last reached the postseason, it fell to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. At that time, Turner was a senior in high school, C.J. Miles was on the Cavaliers, and David West and Roy Hibbert started for Indiana — point being, a lot has changed in two years.

"It feels good, feels good," said George of making the playoffs. "We're very proud about that, making it into the playoffs once more, especially with this group. I think it will be great to get Myles (Turner) some playoff experience. And really (that's the case) for all of us. This is a young group."

Inside the Numbers

With 8:33 left in the third quarter, the Pacers led the Nets by a game-high 42 points.

Myles Turner's 28 points were the second most he's scored all season. He dropped 31 points in a loss to the Warriors on January 22.

Paul George did major damage in limited minutes. George scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting while collecting five rebounds and passing out six assists.

C.J. Miles stayed hot from beyond the arc, sinking 3-of-6 attempts from long range.

You Can Quote Me On That

"Seeding is to be determined. Our intent is to play. We have to focus on what we do. We're not worried about anything except playing well the last two games." --Pacers head coach Frank Vogel

"This is not the way I wanted to play. I wish today we were prepared. They came out, jumped on us early. I didn't see a lot of fight with our starting group at the beginning of the game." --Nets head coach Tony Brown

"It feels great. I was out of the playoffs the last two years. Now my team is going to the playoffs and I'm excited." --Pacers guard Ty Lawson

"No matter what place we're in, that's what you play for. We're going to cherish this, try to rest up as much as possible, and figure out what we have to do next." --Pacers guard George Hill

Noteworthy

  • Without Brook Lopez in the lineup, the Pacers outrebounded the Nets 58-36
  • Indiana outscored the Nets 64-38 in the paint
  • Indiana won the season series against the Nets 3-1
  • Former Pacers guard Donald Sloan was second on his team in scoring with 19 points

Stat of the Night

The Pacers set their season high for team assists, passing out 34 dimes on the night. When the Pacers have 25 or more assists this season, they are 16-4.

Tickets

Don't miss the Pacers' final regular season homegame against the Knicks on Tuesday night at 7 PM: Find Tickets »

Home Court Gift Shop Game Night Special

Hickory Mini Basketball - $10. Game Night Specials can be purchased in the Home Court Gift Shop or any of our souvenir stands located on all levels of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The special is also available online at PacersGear.com until midnight.