Pacers-Nets Preview

March 28, 2012

(AP) -- The Indiana Pacers faced little difficulty in knocking off one of the Eastern Conference's best teams in their last game.

The Pacers' recent matchups with the last-place New Jersey Nets haven't given them much trouble, either.

Looking to continue its domination in this series, visiting Indiana tries for a four-game season sweep and an 11th consecutive victory over New Jersey on Wednesday night.

The Pacers (29-19) have won four of five, their only loss in that stretch coming by a 113-111 score to Phoenix on Friday. Indiana bounced back with a 125-104 win at Milwaukee the following night before posting one of its most impressive efforts of the season Monday, a 105-90 victory over star-studded Miami.

Danny Granger had 25 points and Darren Collison scored 20 for the Pacers, who went 10 of 18 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Heat 49-33.

"Our guys had a determination that they weren't going to be denied," coach Frank Vogel said. "We're competing at a high level. We're looking forward to making a serious run at the end of the season and be one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs."

Indiana is two games back of Orlando for the third seed in the conference.

"It's a confidence builder, showing that if we play the right way, believe in each other, play team defense, that we can be one heck of a team," guard George Hill said. "Anytime that you get a win like this, you have to build off of it."

Indiana has to like its chances of doing just that versus the woeful Nets (16-35). The Pacers have taken 13 of the last 14 meetings and 10 in a row by an average of 13.4 points.

They cruised to a 108-94 win Jan. 2 in their most recent visit to Newark, though they struggled to put New Jersey away in a 93-88 home win Feb. 16.

Sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, the Nets have gone 1-6 in their last seven after a 105-84 loss to Utah on Monday. New Jersey, outscored 58-44 in the paint and limited to 35.8 percent shooting, cut a 22-point third-quarter deficit to three in the fourth but was ultimately outscored 33-19 over the final 12 minutes.

"I didn't like the way that we finished the game," coach Avery Johnson told the league's official website. "... We didn't show quite the professionalism and character that I would have liked."

Deron Williams scored 17 points but went 7 of 21 from the field. Kris Humphries, averaging 13.3 points, was held to a season-low two and shot 0 for 6.

Teams are shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range versus the Nets - the third-highest mark in the league. Indiana has gone 20-4 when shooting at least that percentage from beyond the arc.

The Pacers have won two in a row on the road after dropping seven of nine there.

In addition to Brook Lopez, sidelined with a sprained right ankle, New Jersey was without Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow on Monday. Farmar is out until at least April 5 while Morrow is listed as day-to-day.