At no point during the game between the Indiana Pacers and the Brooklyn Nets did it seem like this was even a remotely fair contest, even when the scoreboard was suggesting that it’s a pretty even contest up to a certain stage. One team is going to be in the Eastern conference finals and looking better than expected. The other is yet another example of how not to build a team, further hurt by a long list of injuries that keep coming at them.
The Pacers won this game 103-86, slowly but steadily building their lead, mostly relying on their defense to overpower the sad and slightly lost looking Nets. Yes, they have their point guard back, and thanks to the Brook Lopez injury, Kevin Garnett is finally playing where he should be, at center. However, this simply isn’t it. There doesn’t seem to be anything out of the box done on offense, as Jason Kidd look helplessly on the floor, waiting for something to happen, but everyone knows it simply won’t.
Lance Stephenson, following his triple double performance against the Boston Celtics, managed to break the habit of following a good game with a terrible one. He scored 26 points, enjoying the quite easy to score against defense the Nets put in front of him, while Paul George was just as he always is, co-leading the Pacers in scoring along with Stephenson. The rest of the offense came from George Hill and David West, also finishing in double figures.
But while winning and excellence is nice to watch and appreciate, the Pacers weren’t the story here. Train wrecks are a spectacular thing to watch when you translate the metaphor into the sports world. Instead of damage and injuries, you get arrogant teams and unintelligent decisions to build a team based on old and injury prone players falling apart right before your eyes, as a rookie head coach who somehow landed the job barely after announcing his retirement from the game looks like the last person the Nets should look to in order to get them out of this situation.
Paul Pierce played 15 minutes off the bench in a sad turn to his career. The Nets shot only 38.2% from the field and 26.1% from beyond the arc. At no point did it look like they have the right kind of offense and ball movement in order to crack the Pacers defense or somehow find a way to get over their inferiority, physically, athletically and pretty much talent-wise at almost every position.
The Pacers are going to need tougher opponents in order to realize what their problems are and where they need to tweak things. The Nets? This season is simply looking sadder and bigger waste of money with every game that goes by.
We’re kind of getting comfortable with losing and we’ve got to make a stand with that because when things get tough, do we just give in? And most of the time right now we do. I’m not comfortable with losing. It’s not fun. It’s not fun not only when we’re losing during the game, but when you go home sitting and thinking about it.