The Brooklyn Nets were supposed to compete for a championship with the Indiana Pacers this season, but instead the Pacers showed them what a winning team really looks as they beat them 103-86 at the Barclays Center on Monday.
Brooklyn’s own Lance Stephenson did most of the damage with a career-high 26 points while the Nets were led by Joe Johnson with 17 points and Paul Pierce was held scoreless for the first time since 1999 after he was ejected for a flagrant foul in the third.
This game was close early on as the Nets trailed just 19-17 after one and 45-39 at halftime, but, as usual, they were completely dominated in the third quarter when Paul George led the Pacers with 10 points. The Nets shot just 35.3 percent as a team in the third, including 1-for-6 behind the arc, and led by as much as 24 points.
Headed into the fourth quarter with a 17-point deficit, the Nets could do little to come back. They were led by the return of Jason Terry, who had eight fourth quarter points, and 11 overall, but they just couldn’t play enough defense to make any serious run.
The Nets looked like they were starting to turn it around a week ago, but that was before losing four out of five and losing Brook Lopez to a season-ending foot injury. They are now 9-18 on the season and look more likely to miss the playoffs altogether at this point.