NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 28th (All times Eastern)
Brooklyn Nets (10-19) at Indiana Pacers (23-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers have won three straight and will face a familiar foe Saturday night when they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers beat the Nets, 103-86, in Brooklyn on Monday for the second time this season, but have been idle since. They are 15-5 in the last 20 meetings in this series and have won eight of the previous 11 games as the host.
Indiana is 13-1 at home, but the win over Brooklyn on the road was impressive. They held the Nets to 38 percent shooting and 23 percent from beyond the 3- point arc.
The Pacers are the league's best defensive team and have played even better defense of late. During this three-game winning streak, Indiana has held the opposition to an average of 82 points per game.
"Our team's mental focus is really at a high level," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "When we follow the plan and understand what we have to do to shut down certain teams, these guys go out and they do it. And they do it with a great deal of passion, and it's fun."
Paul George and Lance Stephenson each scored 26 points on a combined 20-of-35 shooting against the Nets. Stephenson, who recorded his league-leading third triple-double in Sunday's 106-79 win over Boston, added seven rebounds and five assists, while George finished with the same number of assists and one less rebound than Stephenson.
David West and George Hill contributed 13 and 10, respectively, for Indiana.
Brooklyn ended a four-game losing streak with Friday's 104-93 triumph versus Milwaukee thanks to Shaun Livingston's 20 points. Mirza Teletovic added 19 points, while Paul Pierce and Jason Terry contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Nets, who went 1-2 on their homestand.
"That's about as tough as its going to get," Pierce said. "You've got the top three teams in the league. It was important for us to try and at least get a win before we head out on this tough road trip."
Prior to the game, Nets coach Jason Kidd announced that big man Andray Blatche (personal reasons) will miss the next four games.
The Nets will play the next three games on the road against Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, and are 4-10 as the visitor.
12/28 10:15:24 ET