Looking to head into the All-Star break with a full head of steam, the Pacers had seemingly the perfect opponent on Wednesday night, a Nets team that had lost 10 of its last 11 contests.
Brooklyn, however, proved to be far from a pushover, storming ahead of the Pacers in the third quarter and carrying a six-point lead into the fourth at the Barclays Center.
But in the fourth, after seven lead changes, the Pacers took the final lead of the evening, escaping the road battle with a 108-103 victory to enter the All-Star break on the right note.
"It's good for us," Victor Oladipo said. "It's a great way to end the first half of the season. Got a lot more work to do, obviously, but it was a good win."
The game was close from start to finish, with the teams trading leads 29 times during the topsy-turvy affair.
The final lead change came with 2:55 left in the game as Thaddeus Young slammed one down on a fastbreak to put the Pacers up 97-95.
On their next possession, Victor Oladipo delivered a pass to Myles Turner on the pick-and-roll, who was then fouled by Quincy Acy. At the free throw line, Turner hit both to put Indiana up by four with just over two minutes remaining.
After Brooklyn (19-40) chopped its deficit back down to two with a pair of free throws, Oladipo exploded down the lane, finishing in traffic for two of his game-high 25 points on the night.
From there, the Nets elected to foul the Pacers (33-25), but were unable to to pull within striking distance as the Pacers wrapped up their pre-All-Star slate with their third consecutive win, completing a season sweep over Brooklyn in the process.
To open the game, the Pacers trailed for nearly the entire first quarter until Oladipo delivered in the closing seconds of the frame, drawing a foul while attacking the basket and hitting both free throws to put the Pacers up 22-21. But with the clock winding down, Nets rookie Jarrett Allen hit a shot at the buzzer, putting the hosts back in front.
As the second quarter got underway, Indiana's offense started to run through Al Jefferson, who executed a wide array of his post arsenal against Allen, racking up a team-best 13 points in the first half.
Chasing a Nets lead, Lance Stephenson poked free a ball and tracked it the entire length of the court, putting home a layup to tie the game at 40 with five minutes left in the half.
After Nets forward Quincy Acy drilled a 3-pointer to put Brooklyn up by three, the Pacers answered at the buzzer. Thaddeus Young chased down a loose ball and Indiana passed the ball around the perimeter until it found Bojan Bogdanovic, who connected on the corner three to tie things up at 54 at the end of the half.
When the second half began, the hosts looked like they might take control of the game, opening up the third quarter on a 5-0 run. But Indiana, led by Oladipo, responded immediately, embarking on an 11-2 run to move in front.
Moments later, Thaddeus Young spun off of his defender and executed a two-handed slam against his former team, opening up a 71-63 Pacers lead and causing a timeout from the Nets.
Out of the timeout, the Nets had an answer, reeling off eight unanswered points to tie things up once again. But the deluge didn't stop there. The Nets kept their run going, extending the streak to 13 as Brooklyn took a 76-71 lead.
By the end of the third quarter, the Nets led 79-73, leaving the Pacers with a six-point hole to climb out of in order to enter the All-Star break on a winning note.
It didn't take the Pacers long to get climbing, as Indiana opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to regain the lead, setting up the exciting finish at the Barclays Center.
"Sometimes we're on break already in these last games, and you're trying not to do that," Cory Joseph explained. "For us to come in here, especially in a grind-it-out win, shows a lot of character, the character of our team, and it's good for us."
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers made 24-of-28 free throw attempts and outrebounded the Nets 52-44.
Indiana won the turnover battle, forcing the Nets into 14 giveaways and committing just eight.
Victor Oladipo set a Pacers franchise record with 41 straight games recording a steal. He passes Ron Artest, whose record of 40 was set in the 2002-03 season.
You Can Quote Me On That
"We just played better defensively. The first half they played with a lot of movement and they shoot the three pretty well, especially. They shoot a lot of threes. When they get it going, it's tough, so we just tried to take that aspect out of the game and clean up a little bit on the defense, rebounding and stuff like that." -Cory Joseph on the fourth quarter
"We did some good things. We wanted to finish this first half of the season as best as we could. I thought tonight was a grind game. We knew it was going to be tough and the guys showed some road toughness against a scrappy Brooklyn team. Right now we want to get some rest. There are only 24 games remaining. We want to get off in the second half of the season how we started the season." -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan
"We couldn't stop them. Defense again I think was our Achilles heel. Thirty-five points is just too many. I just felt like they got too many easy baskets, too many easy looks. There were too many breakdowns. Until we fix up our defense it's going to be tough to get a W. That's the way it is. We're going to look at it, we're going to look at our coverages, we're going to look at who's in the game. That's disappointing to give up that many points in the fourth quarter." -Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson
- TJ Leaf (sore left calf) did not play
- Indiana outscored the Nets 42-28 in the paint
- All five of Indiana's starters scored in double figures
Stat of the Night
With the record of 33-25, the Pacers have reached eight games above .500, a mark they haven't reached since the final game of the 2015-16 season.
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Following the All-Star break, the Pacers return home on Friday, Feb. 23 to host the Atlanta Hawks. Find Tickets »