Victory is sweet.
Four Indiana Pacers (1-3) players finished with 20 points or more, including a game-high 29 from Domantas Sabonis on 11-of-18 shooting, as the Blue & Gold emerged with a 118-108 victory over the Brooklyn Nets (1-3) for their first victory of the season. The Blue & Gold outscored the Nets 58-45 in the second half to pick up their fifth-straight win at the Barclays Center. With the win, the Blue & Gold managed to avoid their first 0-4 start since the 1988-89 season.
T.J. Warren's one-handed floater with 5:37 remaining in the third quarter pushed the Pacers ahead 79-77 and the team never relinquished the lead again. His 12-point third quarter performance helped him finish the game with 20.
Malcolm Brogdon continued his outstanding start to the season, finishing with 21 points and 13 assists for his fourth double-double in as many games. In his first game back from a bruised hip, Jeremy Lamb added 25 points and seven rebounds.
The Pacers finally got the good start they were desperately searching for after falling in early deficits during their first three games. The defense held the high-scoring Nets to just one field goal in the first 4:06 of the game. Brogdon and Lamb combined for 10 points in the first 3:55 of game play, and the Pacers went on a 12-0 run to climb to a 16-6 lead before Taurean Prince hit a 3-pointer to stop the run at the 7:54 mark of the quarter.
Kyrie Irving, who came into the game as the NBA's leading scorer, shook off a slow start to keep the Nets in the game early. Irving scored five straight points in 17 seconds to cut the Pacers lead to 23-22 with 4:38 remaining. However, Myles Turner stopped Irving’s run one minute later, sinking his eighth 3-pointer of the season to give the Pacers a two-possession lead once again.
But Turner's night soon came to an unexpected and abrupt end. With 2:19 remaining, Turner attempted to fight through a screen and rolled his right ankle. Aided by athletic trainers, he limped to the locker room and never returned to the game. He was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain.
As head coach Nate McMillan was forced to use Goga Bitadze without much help, Garrett Temple completed a three-point play in the paint with 1:29 remaining to give the Nets a 29-28 lead. A late 3-pointer from sharpshooter Doug McDermott helped the Pacers escape the first period with a 31-31 tie, but it was clear that the Nets were going to attack the inexperienced Bitadze when the second quarter began.
Like clockwork, the Nets quickly jumped to a 39-35 lead early in the second quarter by scoring eight straight points in the paint, and forced Pacers head coach Nate McMillan to call a timeout with 9:26 remaining in the half. The Nets' lead grew 42-35 before McDermott and Aaron Holiday cut the lead to 44-41 with 7:36 remaining. It was Holiday's first bucket after starting the season 0-for-9 from the field.
With the Nets ahead 52-47 and 4:48 remaining, Lamb scored the next seven Pacer points to keep the Nets from building a large lead. Brogdon's jump shot with 57.2 seconds remaining cut the Nets lead down to 61-60. But a late dunk by Allen pushed the Nets ahead 63-60 just before the buzzer. The Nets finished the first half with 34 points in the paint.
As the third quarter started, it appeared as if the game was going to be a toss-up to the final whistle. The teams exchanged the lead six times within the first 3:30 of the third quarter. But Warren's play pushed the momentum in the Pacers' favor.
After his floater, Warren's quick hands forced a loose ball. The ensuing scramble caused Nets forward Joe Harris to commit a foul. With the Pacers in the bonus, Warren sank two free throws to grow the Pacers lead to 81-77 with 5:22 remaining. It was the first time either team had a lead larger than three points since the 2:54 mark of the second quarter.
After the free throws, the Blue & Gold began a 9-3 run — five of which came from Sabonis — over the next 3:10 to increase the lead to 90-80. The Pacers defense held the Nets to just three points on 1-of-5 shooting over the last 2:12 to take a 90-83 lead into the final frame. By the end of the third, every starter except Turner had reached double figures.
After a quick 5-0 spurt from the Nets to cut the Pacers lead to 90-88 early in the final frame, Lamb sank a 19-foot pull up jumper, and Aaron Holiday found his brother Justin for a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 95-88. Lamb then scored the next two buckets for the Blue & Gold, and Sabonis followed with back-to-back layups to push the Pacers lead to 103-92. It forced Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson to call a timeout with 6:55 remaining in the game.
A baseline 3-pointer from Spencer Dinwiddie with 2:44 remaining provided the Nets with some hope by trimming the lead to 114-105. But Sabonis slammed the comeback door shut with four straight points, including a cutting dunk shot with 1:45 remaining to put the game officially out of reach. The big man led all scorers in the fourth quarter with 10.
Inside the Numbers
Sabonis fell one point shy of tying his career high (30) — a feat that he's achieved twice.
After allowing 34 points in the paint in the first half, the Pacers allowed just 26 in the second.
The Pacers held the Nets to just 20 points on 8-for-20 shooting (40 percent) in the third quarter.
The 20-point quarter was the second-lowest scoring quarter for the Nets this year, not including overtime.
You Can Quote Me On That
"Monkey off our back. Now we can just play ball. I think this was the bigger step for us, figuring out our identity." -Malcolm Brogdon on what the win meant
"Monster. He was monster down there. Defending, rebounding, initiating offense – he had to play a lot of minutes, but he was fired up and I thought we rode his energy. But it was a team effort tonight. I thought both that first unity, as well as the second unit, those guys came in and played solid basketball tonight and got their first win." –Nate McMillan on Sabonis stepping up in Myles Turner’s absence.
"I feel like in the second half of the trip on the road, we were finally clicking together, finding some pieces and we were excited to come out tonight and keep building on what we’ve started." -Domantas Sabonis on what the key was to getting the win tonight
Stat of the Night
With the exception of Turner, who was injured, every starter scored 20 points or more.
- The Pacers have won 10 of their last 11 meetings with the Nets.
- The Blue & Gold have not lost at the Barclays Center since October of 2016.
- After tonight’s win, the Pacers take a 107-73 series lead against the Nets.
After a three-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Bankers Life Fiedhouse to host Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
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