Pacers still undefeated under Vogel
When Frank Vogel was growing up in New Jersey, there used to be a state tourism advertisement:
''New Jersey and You: Perfect Together.''
Since taking over as the Indiana Pacers' interim coach last week, Vogel has seemingly made the ad his own:
''Frank Vogel and the Pacers: Perfect Together.
Fellow New Jersey native Dahntay Jones scored a season-high 18 points and the Pacers remained unbeaten in four games under Vogel with a 105-86 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday.
''One of the best moments of my basketball life was when I was a student manager in 1996 at Kentucky and we won the Final Four in the Meadowlands,'' said Vogel, who grew up in Wildwood, south of Atlantic City. ''This was a huge moment for me and I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up. It was a good day for both of us.''
Jones, who grew up near the state capital of Trenton, had averaged 3.1 points in 12 games this season, with a high of eight. He had 12 in the final quarter when Indiana blew the game open.
''It's always special to come back home and play well in front of those who supported me all my life,'' Jones said. ''I always have a little more confidence coming home.''
Jones noted that Vogel has changed the Pacers with his enthusiasm and his demand that the team play defense and rebound.
''He always has positive things to say. He tries to make you feel special. He's giving a lot of guys confidence. There's a huge parallel between him and Doc (Rivers) in terms of personality and love of the game,'' said Jones, who played for Boston last year. ''It's a good quality to have in a coach. He keeps our heads up. What Frank is doing is making sure that every day starts with a compliment and that's what we need.''
The Pacers had little problem handling the Nets, getting contributions from 10 players, with six finishing in double figures.
Mike Dunleavy added 17 points and hit a 3-pointer to ignite an early 10-point run that put the Pacers ahead for good.
Paul George added 14, Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert had 11 apiece, and Darren Collison 10.
Indiana has scored at least 100 points in each of its four games since Vogel replaced Jim O'Brien a week ago Sunday.
''I think everyone is a little more loose now and we're doing different things,'' forward Josh McRoberts said. ''I have a lot of respect for Coach O'Brien, but maybe sometimes change loosens things up. We now have a little bit more of a rotation and that's working.''
Devin Harris had 13 points and seven assists and Brook Lopez added 13 for New Jersey, which lost its third straight.
''It's our starts, we're getting off to sluggish starts,'' Harris said.
Indiana never trailed after Dunleavy, 6 of 8 from the field, tied the game at 8 with a 3-pointer and Collison sandwiched a jumper and a 3-pointer around a dunk by McRoberts for a 15-8 lead.
The Pacers led by nine after the opening quarter. They pushed the lead to 13 at the half with a late 15-7 spurt that featured eight points from George and another 3-pointer by Dunleavy.
''There are no excuses,'' Nets guard Anthony Morrow said. ''It's a team thing. There's something we have to do to overcome. The coach is doing everything he can do. We collectively find out what it takes to get over this right now.''
Notes: Jordan Farmar might return to the Nets' lineup next week. The backup point guard has missed six straight games with back problems. ... Nets backup center Johan Petro tied his season-high with eight points and had a monster rejection on George on a drive at the end of the first half. ... Jones also got a technical in the second quarter.