Nets top the Pacers, 97-86, winning their 6th straight game

USA TODAY Sports

Nets won their 6th straight game, beating the Pacers.

Tonight, the Nets put up their 5-game winning streak against a Indiana Pacers team that was carrying in a 4-game winning streak of their own. The Nets were without Gerald Wallace (ribs) and with a somewhat limited Deron Williams (thigh), while the Pacers had Paul George (flu) back in their lineup.

The Nets, however, played a near flawless 4th quarter and pulled away, winning their 6th straight game, 97-86, and moving to 8-1 under P.J. Carlesimo. It was the sixth time in Carlesimo's nine games that the Nets won by 10 or more. They are now the hottest team in the NBA, having won eight of their last ten as well as six in a row.

“It’s a big test,” Williams said. “A lot of our wins lately have come against sub-.500 teams. This is a playoff team — and we’ve struggled against playoff teams this year — so this is a big win for us.”

You could see the early struggle in this one not having Wallace in the lineup. The Pacers were taking advantage of having a defensive and size mis-match with Keith Bogans guarding the three.

Roy Hibbert got into early foul trouble for the Pacers, picking up two in the first nine minutes of the game, and that really opened things up offensively for the Nets. Kris Humphries had a strong first quarter, coming off the bench to score six points and grab four rebounds in six minutes. Thanks to Hump and Williams (12 points), the Nets carried a 27-21 lead into the second quarter.

The Nets bench continued its strong play, helping carry the Nets lead until about midway through the second quarter, when the starters returned -- for both team -- and David West kept eating up the Nets offensively.

At halftime, Nets found themselves down 49-46, after shooting 36 percent from the floor in the second quarter.

The Nets were unable to make up much ground in the third, having been out-scored 26-23 in the quarter, with Lopez still struggling to make much of an impact. Through three he was 1-of-8 from the floor, while David West made his mark scoring 23 points in 26 minutes.

The Nets were down by six points, 75-69, when the fourth quarter started.

Lopez finally got going in the fourth, hitting back-to-back 15-foot jumpers on the right wing, pulling the Nets within two points. They then went on a 16-2 run, pulling away and beating the Pacers 97-86. They are now 8-1 under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Deron Williams led the way with 22 points, while Joe Johnson added 20 of his own. In talking about his rebound from a dreadful December, D-Will said he's been pacing himself, understanding the value of rest as well as practice.

“Early on I felt like I wanted to practice so much. I kind of felt like I was soft if I’m not out there and my teammates are out there practicing,” he said. “I’ve just been a lot smarter about it. It’s just been one of those things where either you want it in practice, or you want it in games. Because of that, my ankle feels better. My wrist feels better."

He stat sheet feels better too. He's averaging 19.5 and 8.3 over the six game winning streak.

Brooklyn-native Lance Stephenson had a bit of a homecoming, playing in Brooklyn for the first time as a pro. Stephenson started, playing just six-plus minutes before leaving with a foot injury.

For more on the Pacers, see: Indy Cornrows

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