The Pacers took advantage of the of Nets’ interior defense that was non-existent due to the loss of Brook Lopez to a season-ending foot injury. Not having Lopez cost the Nets on the interior as they had no one to run their offense through, and the Pacers drove to the basket without fear.
While Roy Hibbert (eight points and nine rebounds) was unable to take full advantage of Lopez being out, the Pacers guards put on a show for their fans in the stands and back home in Indiana. Paul George continued his MVP campaign with 26 points, while George Hill added 10. It was the Pacers’ still No. 1 in the league defense that helped provide the offensive spark. They held the Nets to 38 percent shooting and scored 24 points off 18 turnovers.
Joe Johnson led the Nets with 17 points and Paul Pierce, who scored 27 and 24 points in his last two games, was held scoreless and eventually ejected after earning a flagrant-2 foul on Hill.
Brooklyn started hot, jumping out to an 8-2 lead, but their poor shooting kept them out of the game. Their lead vanished by the end of the first, and they trailed 75-58 at the end of the third en route to the 103-86 loss. The Pacers came up three points short of recording their third-straight 20-plus point victory.
For Indiana, the win kept them tied for the league’s best record at 23-5. On the other end, the Nets’ loss dropped them to a miserable 9-18 and tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference with the New York Knicks. The two teams will meet again this Saturday in Indiana, and you can bet that the Pacers’ time off plus a jam-packed Bankers Life Fieldhouse will lead to another big win over the Nets.