Game Notes: Pacers at Nets
Where Roy Hibbert vs. Brook Lopez happens.
The story is told by the starting lineups. For the visiting Indiana Pacers, it’s Dahntay Jones, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Brandon Rush and T.J. Ford. For the Nets, it’s Terrence Williams, Trenton Hassell, Brook Lopez, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Rafer Alston.
Wait a minute, scratch that. This story is told by one starter: Trenton Hassell. Trenton’s a nice guy and a great story, but when he’s in your starting lineup, you’re probably in trouble.
Not that you need look so hard to realize how much trouble the Nets are in. They’re 0-10 for starters, and speaking of starters, Devin Harris and Yi Jianlian are over on the bench in what appear to be matching velvet blazers. I’m not sure what Courtney Lee is wearing, but it sure isn’t a Nets uniform. And Jarvis Hayes, Eduardo Najera, Tony Battie and Keyon Dooling won’t be joining us, either. So, yes. Trouble.
Danny Granger opens things up with an and-1, and less than two minutes into the game the Nets have three team fouls and are being shut out.
Trenton Hassell comes with the old-man style back-in, takes a wild shot, and looks around because he didn’t get the call. Um, hate to be the one to break it to you, but you’re Trenton Hassell.
Dahntay Jones delivers a mean fake, and coasts in for an easy layup. He’s got six, and the Nets call a timeout down 11-2 with 8:36 to go. Too bad there isn’t a “wait until Devin Harris is healthy” timeout.
The Nets make a little run, i.e. score some points, but Luther Head buries a three on the break, it’s 25-12 Pacers, and the Nets take another timeout. The funereal silence is worse than boos.
When you’re going to Trenton Hassell in the post, you’re probably…well, you know.
Hey look, it’s Tyler Hansbrough! Travelling. Besides the bulgy eyes, he runs kind of like a zombie. It’s honestly kind of scary.
Brook Lopez is good. He cleans up a miss, has 10 points and five boards early.
Pacers lead, 31-21, after 1.
The Nets come out and start the second with a crisp over-and-back turnover, just like Lawrence diagrammed.
Second way you can tell the Nets are depleted: Sean Williams is in the game.
Perhaps buoyed by the rousing success of their over-and-back, the Nets are turning the ball over every way possible. Offensive fouls, travelling violations, maybe even a three seconds. Keeping the refs on their toes.
And we have a center battle brewing. Hibbert gets isoed in the post, hits a hook over Lopez. Lopez misses an outside jumper, and the Pacers go right back to Hibbert, who scores again. Lopez hits his next jumper, and Hibbert gets another iso, this time on the baseline. He tosses up a tough shot off the glass. Buckets. Nets trail 41-27 with 6:55 to go in the half, and call another timeout.
Josh McRoberts, who looks like an all-growed-up version of one of the Cobra Kai, is the only Pacer in white shoes. Apparently the NBA lifted the whole matching-shoe rule recently, but it still looks kind of silly. Especially since he’s wearing black socks. PUT HIM IN A BODYBAG, YEEEEAAAAAAHH!!!!!!!!
To be honest, Danny Granger looks kind of lackluster out there. He’s got 14, which is respectable, but he’s just drifting. Coasting. Whatever.
Pacers lead 54-46 at the half.
The Pacers open the third with a 9-0 run before Brook Lopez catches a dunk and follows with a jumper. He’s got 21 points and six rebounds and my All-Star vote. Heck, it’s not like he’ll beat Da-white anyway.
Lopez from the outside again. Has 21 points, six boards, three assists.
Time passes. Pacers are offensively ineffective for the remainder of the quarter, yet still lead 67-60 at the end. After that 9-0 barrage, they’re outscored 14-4 the rest of the way. What the NBA needs more of is 14-13 quarters. Sigh.
This game doesn’t really have much going for it, half the half-crowd has already left, the outcome was determined two minutes in, and here’s Roy Hibbert diving after loose balls in the fourth quarter up 12. You gotta like the guy.
And you have to reward the effort. TJ Ford hits Hibbert underneath for a pretty reverse layup. He’s got 17 and 8 on 8 of 10 shooting. Get this guy more touches!
Brook Lopez buries another 12-footer. Nice arc, although the Nets need to keep him closer to the basket. That’s 24 and 12.
Hibbert again, with the putback. 79-67 Pacers. Timeout, 5:36 to go.
TJ Ford swings the ball around the perimeter to Lawrence Frank.
Lopez mosesmalones his own miss. 26 and 14 sounds like an All-Star to me.
The Dread Pirate Chris Douglas-Roberts scores, and inexplicably it’s a six-point game with three minutes to go, 83-77.
That’s their best (and last) punch, though. Final score, Pacers 91, Nets 83.
Pacer coach Jim O’Brien (who I’d entirely forgotten was coaching the Pacers until the final minute of the third quarter) opens his remarks with a statement that could be almost seen as patronizing: “They’ve competed against every opponent, and it’s a shame that they haven’t been able to get a victory, but it’s not for lack of effort.” Says the guy whose team shot 39.2 percent (the starting backcourt of Rush and Ford went 4-20), scored 13 points in the third quarter, and still led wire-to-wire.
In the locker room, an iced-down Danny Granger is more succinct: “That was an ugly-ass game, huh? Did we even break 90?”
Hibbert finishes with 19 points on 9-11 shooting. Never forget!
The good news for the now 0-11 Nets? They can’t dwell on the latest loss. They’re in Milwaukee tonight to take on the Bucks, where a white-hot Brandon Jennings will go up against Rafer, who played 42 minutes and has no real backup. Um, did we say that was good news? Nevermind.