Saturday, November 9, 2013
W2W4: Nets vs. Pacers
By Mike Mazzeo
The Indiana Pacers are the only undefeated team left in the NBA. The Brooklyn Nets will try to change that Saturday night when they take on the Pacers in a matchup of Eastern Conference heavyweights at Barclays Center. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
UPDATE: KG WILL START Kevin Garnett will start in the second of the team's first set of back-to-back games this season Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers. The Nets have 20 back-to-back sets this season, Friday and Saturday night being their first. Rookie coach Jason Kidd has said he’d prefer not to play KG in back-to-backs so that he can conserve the 37-year-old veteran for the playoffs, but nothing is set in stone. Garnett is shooting just 30.4 percent in 2013-14. He has just one field goal in the restricted area. His shot chart on NBA.com isn’t pretty.
Paul Pierce struggled through an illness in Friday night’s loss to the Washington Wizards, going just 1-for-5 from the field and scoring four points. We’ll also have to see if he’s a go.
NOW, THE GOOD NEWS: The Nets (2-3) have won both of their home games this season, including a 101-100 defeat of the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. They have beaten Indiana four straight times -- and swept the Pacers last season (3-0). Brook Lopez is averaging 21 points in the early going on 61.2 percent shooting on the season. While Brooklyn blew an 11-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in its loss in D.C. on Friday, the bench contributed an impressive 47 points.
SETTING THE PACE: The Pacers (6-0) are tops in the league in defensive efficiency, yielding just 86.8 points per 100 possessions. Their opponents are shooting just 37.8 percent from the field. Paul George, 23, has emerged as a superstar and is averaging 25.3 points and 8.2 rebounds. Indiana fortified its bench in the offseason by adding ex-Net C.J. Watson, ex-Knick Chris Copeland and landing Luis Scola in a trade. Danny Granger is currently out due to injury, but the Pacers haven’t missed a beat without him.