Brooklyn Nets (10-19) at Indiana Pacers (23-5)
The Indiana Pacers enjoyed a few days off for the Christmas holiday and tonight will take on the Brooklyn Nets for the second time in six days. This time, however, Indiana faces Brooklyn at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
Both games between the two teams have taken place at the Barclays Center, home of the Nets. The Pacers won both of those matchups, with the latest being a 103-86 victory. A lopsided game it was – so lopsided that Brooklyn veteran forward Paul Pierce was ejected from the game after receiving a Flagrant 2 foul for his close-line effort against Indiana guard George Hill.
Paul George and Lance Stephenson led all scorers in the game for the Indiana Pacers with 26 points apiece in Monday’s win. Indiana held Brooklyn to 38% shooting, including 23% from three, for the game.
The Nets continue to play without center Brook Lopez, who is out for the season due to injury.
Despite the absence of Lopez, Brooklyn ought to attempt to slow Roy Hibbert and David West down low. Stopping them offensively and on the boards could be key to the Nets walking away with a win.
As for Indiana, the offense of Brooklyn remains the focal point on the defensive end. At any given time in the game, the Nets offense has a chance of exploding. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce lead the charge, while Kevin Garnett still holds the ability to knock down the open mid-range jumper.
I envision the Indiana Pacers winning the battle of the boards again tonight. Brooklyn simply does not have enough big men, without Lopez, to keep up a solid effort on the glass. Slowing Williams is important, while the Pacers’ depth could prove to be a difference.
Indiana beats Brooklyn for the second time in a week, 97-87.