Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers Takeaways and Grades

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth time this season, the Brooklyn Nets faced off against the Indiana Pacers. The Friday night matchup also marked a special occasion: Caris LeVert‘s first NBA start.

The Brooklyn Nets got off to a slow start vs. Indiana, which included plenty of sloppy play and turnovers. The Nets turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, and an 8-0 Pacers run put the Nets in a hole relatively early. In the opening minutes, Jeff Teague was outscoring the Nets, as Teague put up nine first quarter points.

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The Nets were led by Joe Harris, who came in the game off the bench and provided a spark, scoring five points. But after getting off to such a slow start offensively, the Nets found themselves down by 11, 27-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Spencer Dinwiddie, coming off the bench, made an impact in the second quarter, as he made two of his first three shots and made two free throws. Dinwiddie and Sean Kilpatrick each added seven points in the first half, as the Nets tried to cut into Indiana’s lead. Brook Lopez, as he usually does, led the Nets in scoring in the first half with 12 points on 5-7 shooting.

But turnovers proved to be a problem for the Nets in the first half, as Brooklyn turned the ball over 10 times in the first 24 minutes. A lack of ball security made it difficult for the Nets to close the gap. The Pacers, led by Paul George with 15 points, led Brooklyn 56-46 at halftime.

As they did in the first quarter, the Nets came out flat in the third quarter. Indiana went on a 13-2 run to start the third quarter, to take a commanding 69-51 lead with 7:30 remaining in the quarter. Indiana’s offense was able to keep Brooklyn’s defense off balance due to quality spacing and ball movement.

The Nets managed to go on a 14-2 run with four minutes left in the third quarter to cut Indiana’s lead to 6, 73-67. Nine of Brooklyn’s 14 points on the run came at the free throw line, and Dinwiddie capped off the run with a three pointer, swaying the momentum in Brooklyn’s favor.

Brooklyn outscored Indiana 28-24 in the third quarter, to cut Indiana’s lead to six. The Nets trailed 80-74 after three quarters, but seeing as Brooklyn trailed by as many as 19 at one point, the Nets were in good shape heading to the fourth quarter.

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The Nets opened the fourth quarter on an 8-3 run, as both Kilpatrick and Quincy Acy hit three’s to cut Indiana’s lead to 83-82. After Acy nailed another three, the Nets grabbed an 85-83 lead, Brooklyn’s first of the game.

The Pacers would not surrender, as Indiana retook the lead, 90-89, with 5:40 remaining in the game. Indiana held the lead as the pace slowed, with the Pacers leading 94-89 after Jeff Teague hit a pair of free throws.

Caris LeVert and Paul George then traded buckets, as Indiana led 96-91 with 2:30 left in the game. With under a minute remaining, the Nets put together two poor possessions, one ending with a missed three-pointer from LeVert and another ending in a turnover. The Pacers then pushed their lead to 102-95, as Indiana was in full control.

Brooklyn made a comeback attempt in the second half, but the Nets ultimately fell short, 106-97.

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Miles (0) dribbles the ball around Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Miles (0) dribbles the ball around Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways

1. The Nets turned the ball over far too many times

The Pacers, in their own right, turned the ball over plenty of times, totaling 14 on Friday night. But the Nets outdid Indiana in this regard, giving the ball up 19 times. It should go without saying that 19 turnovers is unacceptable, and will significantly hinder a team’s chances to win. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets with four turnovers, and Brook Lopez had three. Four Nets, Isaiah Whitehead, Trevor Booker, Joe Harris and Sean Kilpatrick, each turned the ball over twice. The game was sloppy as it pertains to turnovers for both teams, but the Nets couldn’t overcome their 19 turnovers.

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2. The bench played well

Three players off the bench, Kilpatrick, Harris and Dinwiddie, scored in double figures for the Nets. Acy and Booker also added eight points each. The trio of Kilpatrick, Harris and Dinwiddie played a large role in the Nets making a comeback, and eventually taking the lead. Acy hit two three’s in the fourth quarter to give Brooklyn the lead, and give the Nets a chance to win. While the Nets ultimately couldn’t finish off the win, 62 points from four players off the bench is solid production.

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3. Caris LeVert struggled offensively in his first start

Plenty of Nets fans are excited about both the present and future pertaining to Caris LeVert, and rightfully so. Fans have been calling for LeVert to start for quite some time, and he got his chance on Friday night, making his first NBA start. Offensively, LeVert struggled. He shot just 1-9 from the field, including going 0-4 from three-point range. LeVert did make an impact both defensively and on the glass — which is part of what makes him a special talent — but offensively he had an off night. LeVert has a ton of potential, and one off night doesn’t mean he shouldn’t start in the future. It would be nice to see LeVert as a fixture in the Nets’ starting lineup. It might not happen at this stage of the season, as this may have just been a spot-start with Bojan Bogdanovic resting. But LeVert is undoubtedly a large piece of the Nets’ future.

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots over Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the third quarter at Barclays Center. Indiana Pacers won 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots over Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the third quarter at Barclays Center. Indiana Pacers won 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Player of the Game:

Brook Lopez

C, Brooklyn Nets

A

Brook Lopez played a team-high 31 minutes, and scored a team-high 23 points on 9-18 shooting. Lopez was perfect from the free throw line (5-5), and interestingly, he only attempted one three pointer. Lopez pulled down six rebounds — only Trevor Booker had more with seven — and Lopez also had an assist. Lopez was far and away the best starter for the Nets, as the other four starters scored a combined 11 points before Kenny Atkinson started mixing and matching his rotations.

Wildcard:

Sean Kilpatrick

SG, Brooklyn Nets

B

Sean Kilpatrick was one of multiple players off the bench to step up versus the Pacers. Kilpatrick scored 18 points in 26 minutes, on 6-11 shooting. He made two of his four three-point attempts, and all four of his free throws. Kilpatrick also had four assists and five rebounds. This spot also could have went to Joe Harris or Spencer Dinwiddie, as both played well off the bench along with Kilpatrick. The Nets needed a spark as Indiana began to pull away and eventually led by 19 points. The bench unit, led by Kilpatrick, brought the Nets back for a chance to win the game.

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Randy Foye

SG, Brooklyn Nets

C-

At this point, Randy Foye starting is not necessarily new. And considering how young the rest of the starting lineup was — save for Lopez — it’s understandable why Kenny Atkinson would want Foye’s veteran presence in with the younger players. But in 23 minutes, Foye did not play all that well. He scored three points on 1-5 shooting, and had two assists, one steal, and one rebound. Foye may continue to start, but Kilpatrick stood out more, and he has been relegated to the bench.

With the loss, the Nets drop to 9-41 on the season, and the Nets have now lost eight straight games. Brooklyn will have Saturday off, and host the Raptors on Sunday.

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