Nets vs. Pacers Recap: Indiana Embarrasses Brooklyn On Home Court
Heading into Saturday night’s matchup against the Indiana Pacers, the Brooklyn Nets were in desperate need of something positive. The team has lost three games in a row, most recently in overtime to the Dallas Mavericks. Some encouraging news did come out of the Nets camp before tipoff, as Seth Curry was cleared to play in his first game of the season. That being said, it was another underwhelming effort from the Nets, leading to their fourth loss in a row.
Early on, Brooklyn’s offense looked solid. Ben Simmons was a bit more aggressive than usual, which helped open up some lanes for other scorers. For the most part, things flowed with a faster pace, which led to a quick lead. Kyrie Irving put on a show in the first period, finding ways to finish at the rim as usual. Despite the excellent start, Indiana closed the gap quite quickly. After twelve minutes of action, it was all knotted up at 26 a piece.
In the second quarter, the same trends continued. Both teams took turns with momentum, leading to back and forth swings. Brooklyn scored the first ten points of the period, but the Pacers bounced back, pulling within one. Yuta Watanabe and Joe Harris both put in fantastic minutes off the bench, which helped take some of the weight off of Irving’s and Durant’s shoulders. The tempo was quite fast in the final several minutes, as both teams ran up and down the court in furious fashion. Heading into halftime, the Pacers held a 63-62 lead.
Things were no different in the third period. Both teams lit it up from beyond the arc, shooting at a very high level. The big issue for Brooklyn is that they simply could not play defense. Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, and plenty of other Pacers were getting open looks from three point range, cashing in on almost every single one. While the Nets offense remained hot, they fell behind to Indiana too often, due to their lack of aggression on defense. With only 12 minutes left to play, the Pacers led 92-90.
Unfortunately, everything went south in the fourth quarter. While Brooklyn continued to play poor defense, their offense lost its rhythm entirely. Even though Irving had a fantastic night from an individual standpoint, the team was extremely sloppy across the board. Rebounding continues to be a major issue for this group. So many times, especially on crucial possessions, the Pacers got second and third chances with the ball. Brooklyn looked apathetic and hopeless down the stretch, which is not an encouraging sight to see. Indiana played much better team basketball, which allowed them to come away with a 125-116 win on the road.
Something has got to give with this current unit. So far, Brooklyn has shown very little heart across the board. Team basketball is not being played. Players are going through the motions, which is never a good sign. After going down in the second half against the Pacers, the team didn’t do much to get themselves back into the game. Overall, it was a lackluster effort, especially from a defensive perspective.
If the Nets want any chance of being competitive this season, a lot has to change. On one hand, there needs to be a bit of a grace period for players who are making their way back to the court. Joe Harris, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and others are coming off of surgeries, and will need time to get back to the best versions of themselves. On the other hand, though, there are countless inexcusable mistakes being made by everyone. A glaring issue is communication on defense, as Indiana exposed Brooklyn’s poor switches time and time again.
Moving forward, Steve Nash must make some major changes. Ben Simmons and Nic Claxton on the floor at the same time hasn’t led to the success we imagined it would. Right now, the Nets are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. On top of that, their rebounding is even worse. The level of aggressiveness has been quite underwhelming, from top to bottom in the organization. If things don’t turn around quickly, it will be an incredibly disappointing season for the Brooklyn Nets.