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Nets fall to undefeated Pacers at home, 96-91.

Maddie Meyer

The ball slammed the back of the rim, went straight up six feet, dribbled three times on the right side, careened to the left side, then nestled sweetly into the twine.

The basket had been unkind to the Nets to that point, shooting just 44% against the NBA's best defensive team and seeing several jumpers go in and out - but that shot off the fingertips of Paul Pierce woke up a previously moribund Barclays Center crowd and set up a frenetic final four minutes between two of the East's strongest teams.

On the next possession Brook Lopez (16 points, 7 rebounds) got hammered by Roy Hibbert (15 points, 11 rebounds) on a scoring drive to the hoop that cut the Pacers lead to three, but no foul was called.

Indiana extended back to a seven point edge behind game-leading scorer Paul George (24 points), but Lopez and Deron Williams (17 points, 10 assists) again pulled the Nets back to a one possession deficit.

After some defensive stops by both squads, Coach Jason Kidd removed Lopez for Jason Terry (0-4 shooting), and called a play for the man who has made a habit of sinking huge late-game shots - Joe Johnson (17 points, 3-5 from three).  Williams found Johnson for a great look behind the arc (thanks to a terrific Terry screen) with 11 seconds to go, but his shot was an inch too deep, launching off the inside of the back rim.  Brooklyn's small lineup couldn't beat David West (18 points, 8 rebounds) to the loose ball, and the Pacers were able to salt the game away.

This was the second half of a back-to-back for both teams and both coaches spread the minutes around to keep the starters fresh for the stretch run.  Kidd played all ten Nets who saw action over 15:00 and nobody reached 33.  Eighteen different players scored in the game and eight reached double-digits.

Their first home loss of the season sent the Nets to a disappointing 2-4 and put them in an early hole at the bottom of the Eastern Conference - 4.5 games behind the 7-0 Pacers.  They now head West to try to make up ground against the Kings, Suns and Clippers.  Five of the Nets' next six games are on the road, where they are 0-3 so far this season.