Thursday night’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets could not have been anymore on-brand for the Indiana Pacers. After a nice little win streak in the month of April, the Pacers have now dropped two in a row as they push towards the play-in tournament.
A loss to the Nets was to be expected but the game went almost exactly as a Pacer fan would expect. Injuries were the major storyline once again as the Pacers just cannot get over that hurdle this season but a handful of players also lived up to expectations.
Indiana Pacers suffer the most on-brand loss of the season
As we are all well aware by now, Indiana is playing the end of the bench thanks to a number of injuries and they entered Thursday night with a depleted group to begin with. Malcolm Brogdon, JaKarr Sampson, and Edmond Sumner all left the contest with injuries and opened the door for Kelan Martin to enter the rotation and Aaron Holiday finally got minutes again.
While Nate Bjorkgren is left hopeless with his rotations, there was one former Pacer that stuck out. Alize Johnson, who has had a nice start to his stint with the Nets, was on a tear against his old club. Against the undersized Pacers, Johnson posted a very impressive 20 points and 21 rebounds while coming off the bench for 32 minutes. No player on the Pacers had more than nine rebounds.
Johnson’s 20 points were also second on the Nets, following only Kevin Durant who shined per usual. Durant dropped an easy 42 points on 16/24 shooting on the night while also adding 10 assists to his final tally.
Indiana should not be surprised by these two performances by any means. We have seen just how talented Johnson is as a rebounder and saw some of his offensive flashes during his time with the Pacers. Durant is one of the best pure scorers in the game and the Pacers lack any sort of wing defense, so that was almost a guarantee coming into the night.
It was not all bad for the Pacers, however. Caris LeVert carried the offensive load throughout the evening and finished with 36 points of his own while shooting the ball well from downtown. He connected on five of his nine attempts from deep.
Oshae Brissett continued to make an impact with 14 points and nine rebounds, further showcasing his future as a wing for this squad. If he plays at this level for the rest of the season, he can earn himself a spot in the rotation next year.