Game Rewind: Pacers 104, Nets 97
It was perhaps a little tougher than expected, but the Pacers (16-9) dominated the fourth quarter to beat the Brooklyn Nets (7-19) on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 104-97. The win capped a 3-0 homestand for the Blue & Gold, who are now set to embark on a two-game road trip to Memphis and San Antonio.
Friday’s game was a tightly contested affair for much of the night. Neither team led by double digits until the final minutes of the contest, which featured six ties and 14 lead changes through the first three quarters.
Though the Nets entered the night with the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and were playing just their second road game since Nov. 28, Brooklyn had a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“The flow of the game was a little nasty,” Pacers forward C.J. Miles said after the victory. “It just felt like we couldn’t get it moving right on either end. It was just finding a way to buckle down in the fourth quarter. There’s going to be a lot of games like that during a long season.”
The visitors stretched their advantage to as many as seven points before the Pacers mounted a rally. Spearheaded by a lineup that paired starters George Hill and Paul George with reserves Rodney Stuckey, Lavoy Allen, and Jordan Hill, Indiana reeled off nine consecutive points, taking an 83-81 lead on George Hill’s 3-pointer with 7:44 to play.
Brook Lopez tied the game once again with a hook shot on the next possession, but George found Allen open on the right baseline for a jumper 16 seconds later, which once again put Indiana back in front.
They would not trail again. George and Jordan Hill combined for the Blue & Gold’s next 17 points down the stretch as the Pacers gradually pulled away for their fourth win in their last five contests.
George led the way, recording his seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Hill also finished with a double-double (his fifth of the year), scoring 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and grabbing 11 boards (five on the offensive glass).
Hill even threw down a vicious dunk that effectively put an exclamation mark on the win, a one-handed jam on Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic that gave Indiana its first double-digit lead with 2:36 to play.
“Jordan’s been a monster, he’s been great,” Miles said, before joking: “He’s even been dunking the ball. We’ve been trying to get him to dunk for like six months and the last two weeks he decided the rim was 10 feet, not 18.”
Stuckey had another strong outing coming off the bench for Indiana. The Pacers’ sixth man scored in double figures for the fourth straight game, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds.
“I’m going to continue to be aggressive,” Stuckey said.
“…Any time I see a lane and I can drive the ball and attack the rim, I’m definitely going to do it.”
Nets point guard Jarrett Jack led all scorers with 26 points and also tallied nine rebounds and six assists, though he managed just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in the fourth quarter. Brook Lopez added 18 points, while Thaddeus Young had 14 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
The Pacers now head to Memphis, where they’ll take on Mike Conley and the Grizzlies on Saturday night in the second half of a back-to-back.
Inside the Numbers
Miles added 15 points for the Pacers, though he was just 4-for-12 from the field and 2-for-8 from 3-point range. Ian Mahinmi was the fifth Pacers player in double figures, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and nine rebounds.
Led by Jordan Hill, Indiana collected 14 offensive rebounds on the night and outscored Brooklyn 19-4 in second chance points.
All told, the Pacers put together a 19-5 run over a 5:48 stretch in the fourth quarter to turn a seven-point deficit into a seven-point lead.
Indiana’s bench outscored Brooklyn’s reserves, 45-23. In addition to Hill and Stuckey, Lavoy Allen had eight points and five rebounds, while Chase Budinger also added eight points.
The Nets hung around for most of the night with some solid shooting, going 8-for-16 from 3-point range and a perfect 17-for-17 from the free throw line.
Brooklyn is now 1-12 on the road for the season, the second-worst record in the NBA. Only Philadelphia (0-16) has a worse record in away games.
You Can Quote Me On That
“We’ve got a deep team. That’s how we’re built. Jordan (Hill) and Rodney (Stuckey) could easily be starters. We have good balance with the bench.” -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
“This team is nothing if our second unit doesn’t have some fire power and we’ve got that. The luxury of this team is having a starting unit and a second unit that really don’t give a defense a break. Stuckey definitely did a great job of attacking and making plays. I thought everybody collectively down the stretch made plays to win the game.” -George
“We’ve been doing a great job of coming off pick-and-rolls and looking for our bigs. They’ve been rolling phenomenally and the pocket pass has been there. We’ve got to just keep doing that, coming off the pick-and-roll and being aggressive and if it’s open, sharing it with our bigs. They’ve been doing a good job of finishing.” -Stuckey
“George Hill didn’t have a great game tonight, Monta Ellis didn’t have a great game tonight. But the guys on the bench stepped up, especially Jordan Hill on the glass.” -Nets head coach Lionel Hollins
“I thought at the start of the fourth quarter they turned up their defense and did a good job of getting in the passing lanes. Our offense got stagnant and they were able to get some easy baskets, which allowed them to get in a rhythm.” -Jack
by Wheat Hotchkiss