The Brooklyn Nets gave a much better effort than they did last night, but they still fell to the Indiana Pacers, 97-96 in Indianapolis. In the second game of a back-to-back, the Nets fought hard from the beginning and were in the game until the very end, but just couldn’t get over the hump against a great home team. Shaun Livingston was the superstar yet again for the Nets tonight, finishing with 24 points. Roy Hibbert and Paul George each had 20 for Indiana.
This game was always close and was always within around 10 points except for a brief period at the start of the third quarter. The Nets even managed to tie the game early in the fourth, but the lack of rebounding eventually killed them. They were outrebounded 46-27 tonight one night after setting an NBA record for fewest rebounds in a game with 17. The one killer possession in the fourth was when the Pacers had 4 second chances and eventually got fouled and made both free throws.
The Nets have now lost 3 in a row after a stretch when they went 10-1. They are still in the playoffs as of now and will have some more easy games coming up on the schedule, but this is definitely a little bit concerning. The reason I am concerned is Deron Williams. He was supposed to be the best player on this team, especially after taking 2 weeks off, and he still does not look good at all. This is very troublesome with 3 years still remaining on his contract.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: B+
Garnett was actually the leading rebounder in the game and finished with a double-double. He made some nice defensive plays, including a big block and had a big tip-in with a little over a minute to go.
Paul Pierce: B-
Pierce had a good defensive game with 5 steals and a block and he also got to the foul line 7 times. However, his 3-point attempt from the corner at the end of the game was not good at all with over 7 seconds remaining.
Shaun Livingston: A
Livingston had one of his best games of the year, scoring a Nets career high 24 points. He did disappear a bit at the end of the fourth quarter, but he kept the Nets in the game through the first 3 quarters. He also held Paul George to 20 points and just 1 assist, a good defensive performance again.
Deron Williams: F
Deron hit a couple of shots when it was too-little-too-late but he started the game shooting 1-10. This was Deron’s first game back as a starter and he did not play well at all. He was unable to get to the rim and did not make any difference at all on defense.
Joe Johnson: C
Joe had a very good first quarter and had a big 3 with 10 seconds remaining, but other than that, he was pretty invisible tonight.
The Nets will have a good chance to snap their losing streak on Monday when they host the Philadelphia 76ers. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.