Above, we see thePacers’ shooting chart for the first three quarters of their 97-86 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. After these first 36 minutes, during which Indiana shot 52.5% (32-for-61) overall and 61.4% (27-for-44) inside the three-point line, the Pacers led 75-69.
Everything looked wonderful.
Then the fourth quarter happened, and it all fell apart.
They shot just 3-for-22 (13.6%) in the final period and allowed the momentum-fueled Nets to make 8-of-14 (57.1%). In all, they were out-scored 28-11, which was the fewest points any Brooklyn opponent has scored on in a fourth quarter this season.
“I thought we stepped up our defense intensity in the last quarter,” said Deron Williams after the game. “We knew we had to get stops for us to have a chance to win the game.”
Really, that was their only chance. And playing that badly in the fourth is just about the only way the Pacers could turn a game they controlled for three quarters into a blowout the other way.
“We stopped executing, and we lost our composure,” said David West.
According to West, the bleeding actually started a little earlier.
He didn’t like the way Indiana ended the third quarter, as they continually put Brooklyn on the free-throw line, where the Nets narrowed the gap and got the Pacers into foul trouble. Seven of Brooklyn’s final nine points of the third came from the charity stripe.
Seeing as how three of those fouls were on West, I’m going to speculate that he may not have agreed with all the calls. Meanwhile, Roy Hibbert and Paul George were both forced to the bench at different times after picking up their fifth fouls.
George certainly wasn’t thrilled. “I think when we get 12 free throws and they have around 31, it is hard to overcome,” said George. “We have to do a better job at playing without fouling.” He added that he thought “we could’ve won this game, but some things you can’t have control over.”
If you combine the foul trouble, Danny Granger’s continued presence on the bench in a suit and the fact that Lance Stephenson left this game early with a sore foot, there were some real personnel issues. Piling on, Paul George missed last night’s game with the flu and George Hill is only a few days recovered from his battle with the bug. It was also the second night of a back-to-back.
All those things combined do add a lot of adversity.
Still, there is no excuse for playing so poorly, on both ends of the floor, in the final period.
Throughout the course of tonight’s game, over the PA system, I must have heard “Where Brooklyn at? Where Brooklyn at? Where Brooklyn at?” 40 times. Well, Mr. Biggie Smalls, right now, Brooklyn is in exactly the same place that they were before the game started.
But as soon as Tuesday night, the answer to that question might be “third place in the Eastern Conference.”
Because by blowing this game, the Pacers are now just 0.5 a game ahead of the Nets for the three seed.
Tags: Game Recap