Three Takeaways From the Brooklyn Nets’ Win Over the Indiana Pacers
In a comfortable yet odd win, the Brooklyn Nets manhandled the Indiana Pacers on the defensive side of the floor while performing well enough on offense to pull out a comfortable victory.
Winning like the Brooklyn Nets did tonight is refreshing coming off of Tuesday’s loss to Detroit. With Kevin Durant still out due to contract tracing, a number of guys stepped up. Following the win, I’ve got three takeaways.
A great defensive performance from the Nets
Since the James Harden trade, the major question mark for this Brooklyn team has been whether or not it’d be able to get enough stops. Against Indiana, the Nets’ defense was on point. They were able to limit both Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis all night long which severely limited the Pacers’ options offensively. Finishing the night 31-83 (37.3 percent) and 12-33 (36.4 percent) from behind the arc, Indiana didn’t get anything easy all night long.
Granted, the Pacers aren’t at full strength and have been having a whole plethora of issues of late. The return of T.J. Warren and the debut of former-Net Caris Levert will make them a much more potent offensive threat. Nonetheless, the Nets winning a game like this where the offense wasn’t at its best and where they had to rely on their defense to pull it out is encouraging since, before now, Brooklyn has had to bank on its offense to make up for defensive deficiencies.
An encouraging bounce-back game from Deandre Jordan
After a putrid performance against Detroit on Tuesday, Jordan came up huge against the Pacers. Stymieing Sabonis all night long, the 32-year-old didn’t allow the All-Star center to bully him in the paint. Sabonis relies on lowering his shoulder and creating space by moving people out of the way but Jordan was strong as a rock all night long.
His impact wasn’t limited to that matchup though as he cleaned up the defensive glass, registering 13 rebounds in 37 minutes. Additionally, he was a menace as a help defender, blocking three shots and staying out of any type of foul trouble, finishing with just one foul on the night.
Offensively, he did what he always does: catch and finish lobs off of pick and rolls. Scoring 12 points on 5-8 shooting, he actually missed a few dunks at the rim. Nevertheless, this type of game from Jordan is what Brooklyn will expect of him. He’s been experiencing issues, especially defensively, of late. In fact, Steve Nash commented following the win that he and Jordan got upset with one another following the Detroit loss. But, like the veteran he is, Jordan bounced back. With the lack of depth the Nets have in the frontcourt, he’ll prove to be a critical piece of this roster and the quality of the Brooklyn defense will partially depend on whether or not he can play like this more often.
Kyrie Irving is on another level but …
In a 35-point, eight-assist showing, Kyrie Irving was in his bag as he was Brooklyn’s driving force on the offense versus Indiana. His 17 attempted and 17 made free throws ties the second-most free throws made without a miss in franchise history. Whereas James Harden struggled a bit to find his groove, Irving was on it from the jump. Joe Harris chipped in an additional 17 points as he continued to shoot lights-out from deep, finishing 3-7 from behind the three-point line on the night.
With that in mind, this was still a bit of a disappointing offensive showing for the Nets as they were unable to ever really put the final nail in the Pacers’ coffin. Some of that is likely due to Kevin Durant’s continued absence, but there was some sloppy play especially from Harden — who had five turnovers with only five assists — that will hopefully be remedied shortly.
Now that this win is in the books, the Nets get a much-needed rest before their five-game road trip kicks off against Golden State on Saturday. Fortunately, Durant should return from COVID-19 contract tracing protocols in time to make the trip West and return to the city where he won two rings.