Coming into their match-up in New Jersey Wednesday night, the Indiana Pacers had defeated the New Jersey Nets ten times in a row. On the eleventh try, the Nets turned the tables. In front of a crowd of 10,817, New Jersey beat the Pacers 100-84, which was their largest margin of victory this season.
New Jersey took a six point lead into halftime, but only led by two at the end of the third quarter. In the final 12 minutes of the game, the Nets blew up, and the Pacers fell apart. New Jersey outscored Indiana 31-17 in the fourth quarter, beginning the fourth by hitting 9-14 shots. The Nets were led by NBA All Star point guard Deron Williams, who scored 30 points on his own in the game.
The Pacers are the only team in the NBA with six players who average over double digits in scoring. On Wednesday night, Indiana only had three players score over ten points. Paul George, who led the team with 22 points, was the only Indiana player to score more than 13 in the game. Indiana as a team shot only 45.5% from the floor and 61.5% from the free throw line.
The loss to New Jersey follows Indiana’s big home win against the Miami Heat on Monday. The Pacers have been consistently inconsistent all season, following winning streaks with losing streaks. The Pacers have beaten good teams, but also lost bad to not-so-good teams. Wins in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Chicago have been almost over-shadowed by losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Sacramento Kings, and the Nets. A playoff-bound team has to learn to play up to their tougher rivals, without playing down to less formidable teams.