Friday, April 12, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Nets 117, Pacers 109
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: The Brooklyn Nets will be opening up the playoffs at home.
The Nets secured at least the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a gritty 117-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Nets (47-32) are now guaranteed home-court advantage in the first round, because the Chicago Bulls (43-37) lost to the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Brooklyn came in with a magic number of two. The Nets, who have won four straight and wrapped up the season 18-28 against .500-or-better teams (at time of game played), can earn the No. 3 seed if they win their final three games and the Pacers (49-30) lose their final three; Indiana holds the tiebreaker because it won the Central Division.
The Nets blew a 24-point lead, but after the Pacers took their first lead of the night, 101-99 with five minutes left, Brooklyn closed the game on an 18-8 run.
Deron Williams had 20 of his game-high 33 points in the second quarter, but hurt his left knee in the final minute and limped to the locker room, which is concerning. Williams added 14 assists in 42 minutes. Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez each chipped in 24 points.
The Nets, who swept their season series with the Pacers (3-0), are 4-0 when their Big 3 all score 20 or more points in the same game.
Jerry Stackhouse delivered the go-ahead 3-pointer that put the Nets ahead 107-104 with 2:56 remaining. The Pacers came in sporting the NBA’s top defense, but the Nets shot 51.2 percent from the field and went 12-for-25 from long distance.
20-X-3: D-Will has had three 20-point quarters this season. He had a 20-point first quarter in Houston, and a 23-point first quarter against Washington. That Wizards game, of course, was the same game in which Williams scored a season-high 42 points and hit a franchise-record 11 3-pointers.
THIRD IS THE BAD WORD: The Nets, who led by as many as 24, were outscored 35-23 in the third quarter and took a 92-85 lead into the fourth. D-Will banged his knee against Roy Hibbert’s thigh as he was trying to get around a screen. Williams hobbled for a bit, but remained in the game.
WHAT A HALF: The Nets scored 69 points in the first half -- their most points in any half this season. They shot 65.1 percent from the field and went 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Their Big 3 combined for 52 points. Williams had 25 points and eight assists at intermission.
FIRING IN THE FIRST: The Nets shot 71.4 percent in the first quarter (15-for-21). Lopez made his first six shots, while Johnson made his first four. Lopez ended up 7-for-8 in the period.
EJECTED: Reggie Evans got a pair of technical fouls and was tossed in the third quarter after firing his headband onto the floor. His team-record streak of eight consecutive games with 13 or more rebounds ended. He finished with 12 boards. The Nets were up 22 when he picked up his first Ttechnical for throwing the ball at the basket stanchion. The Pacers would begin their comeback from there.
CHIPPY PLAY: In the second quarter, Kris Humphries was whistled for a technical foul, while D-Will and Lance Stephenson jawed at each other. Keith Bogans and Stephenson got double-technicals in the third.
INJURY REPORT: Gerald Wallace (leg) did not play.
UP NEXT: Nets at Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.