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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
Indiana Pacers (22-5) at Brooklyn Nets (9-17), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets will try to salvage their season in a post Brook Lopez world, starting Monday night with a home contest against the Indiana Pacers.
On Saturday, the Nets announced Lopez would be lost for the season after breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot for the third time in his young career.
"Disappointed for Brook," GM Billy King told the team's website. "As an organization, losing a player like that hurts, but mainly for Brook Lopez. He's been through a lot. I know Brook. He's going to do everything he can to be back on the court. So now we've gotta let him meet with the doctors and let him figure it out from there."
This season has been an injury-riddled disaster for the Nets. Deron Williams missed a ton of time with ankle injuries, Paul Pierce had a broken hand and Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko both have barely seen the floor.
The only two staples in the Brooklyn lineup have been Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett and that pair both sat in a heartbreaking 121-120 overtime loss on Friday to the Philadelphia 76ers in Philly.
Evan Turner's runner as time expired hit every part of the rim before falling through.
"You gotta give Philly credit," said Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd. "They played hard throughout the whole game."
Alan Anderson led the Nets with 26 points, followed by 24 and 10 rebounds for Pierce and 22 from Lopez, who got hurt early in the fourth quarter, but continued to play.
Williams had 17 points and 14 assists and Mirza Teletovic finished with 18. Shaun Livingston handed out 11 helpers.
Things don't get easier for the Nets, who welcome Roy Hibbert, Paul George and the Pacers to town. Andray Blatche is expected to replace Lopez in the starting lineup and he'll draw Hibbert.
Indiana has won two straight since a loss in Miami on Wednesday. The Pacers still own the best record in the Eastern Conference and demolished the Boston Celtics, 106-79 Sunday night in Indianapolis.
Lance Stephenson filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Stephenson now has three triple-doubles this season -- two of which came against the Celtics -- and is the only player in the Association with more than one.
"It really means a lot to me, but I want to thank my teammates for making it easy," said Stephenson. "They knocked down open shots and we make smart plays. When we play together, the sky is the limit for us."
Paul George paced Indiana with 24 points, while Roy Hibbert added 15 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks. Danny Granger contributed 12 points off the bench to build off a five-point effort in his season debut against Houston on Friday.
The Pacers beat the Nets by five in Brooklyn on Nov. 9 and have taken seven of the last nine as the visitor in this series.
12/23 10:20:41 ET