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Nets meet the Pacers for the first time

"I'll front you if you hang with a bunk crew"
"I'll front you if you hang with a bunk crew"
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Three straight. Fresh off the Christmas break, the Brooklyn Nets went up to Boston to play the Celtics. They came away with a 109-107 victory and have won their last three games. This is night two of a back to back for Brooklyn, and the schedule doesn't lighten up after this. They host Sacramento on Monday night before heading out of town for a quick three game road trip that'll take them to Chicago, Orlando, and Miami.

Coming into the Barclays Center this evening will be the Indiana Pacers. As expected, the Pacers are nowhere near the level of play they were at last season. This is also the second night of a back to back for Indiana. They played in Detroit on Friday night and lost 119-109 to the Pistons. At 10-20, the Pacers are four games behind the Nets for the eighth seed, but all signs point to them missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.

Where to follow the game

On TV, the YES Network has got you covered. On radio, WCBS 880 AM is the place to be with the Devils and Rangers airing on WFAN (head over to our sister sites Blueshirt Banter and In Lou We Trust for more on that game). Tip off is scheduled for after 8 PM.


Nothing to report for the Nets. But since it's a back-to-back, Kevin Garnett could be given a rest day. That's happened four times so far this season.

For Indiana, Damjan Rudez missed the game due to a respiratory infection. He's out, the Pacers announced Saturday.. Rodney Stuckey left the Detroit game after suffering a face contusion. His status is questionable. Paul George is out for the year.

The game

What's up with these two? Let's find out:

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Indiana


13-15 10-20


94.48 95.09

Offensive Efficiency

100.9 97.7

Defensive Efficiency

103.1 101.9

Turnover Rate

15.4 14.9

Assist Rate

16.5 15.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.3 25.1

Rebounding Rate

48.7 51.4

Free Throw Rate

26.9 24.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.3 47

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.6 49

As you would expect, the loss of Paul George and Lance Stephenson has severely limited Indy's offense. The Pacers are the league's second worst offense with relation to efficiency, averaging only 97.7 points per 100 possessions. They aren't getting to the line as they used to and everything that made them successful for most of last season is gone. There's talk that they might try to bring Stephenson back, but that may not be a good idea. More on Stephenson at a later date.

Having George Hill back should help the offense going forward. Hill missed the first 28 games of the season due to a leg contusion he suffered in the preseason. Two games in, he' s shooting 50 percent from the field and averaging 14 points a game. Having him back should create more and better scoring opportunities for C.J. Miles and Stuckey.

Another day, another Mason Plumlee double double. The big guy scored 14 points and picked up 12 rebounds in 35 minutes. This was his fifth double double since joining the starting five, and as it so happens, Brooklyn has won all of the games in which he has done so. Kevin Garnett is the only Net listed in the early All Star voting, but I imagine Net fans will look to make a push for Plumlee if he continues to play well. I hear there are a lot of y'all out there.

Without George and Stephenson, Roy Hibbert has been all alone. Even with an increase in touches from last season, but hasn't shot any better. He's only shooting 44.3 percent from the field and where he's taking his shots can tell us as to why that is. He isn't taking as many shots close to the basket as he used to and almost half of his shot attempts are coming from ten feet and further. Naturally, it's led to him getting fewer opportunities to crash the offensive glass. One thing that has stayed the same is his rim protection. Hibbert is the embodiment of the league's verticality rule and opponents are only shooting 39.8 percent at the rim against him. For the Nets, having him waiting at the rim will deter them from driving to the basket.

With the recent success of the Nets, it might be wise to continue to play Deron Williams and Brook Lopez off of the bench. Jarrett Jack had another great game at the starting point guard spot and has been doing a good job of setting up his teammates. With Williams on the second team, he can create shots for players like Bojan Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic while also serving as a change of pace against the other team's backup PG. This arrangement figures to change as we cross 2015, but for now, Deron will best help the Nets as a backup.

Player to watch: David West

West missed the first 14 games of the season due to an ankle injury he suffered in the preseaaon. He returned to the lineup on November 28 and hasn't missed a game since. In those 14 games, DW has been averaging close to 13 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes a game. One of the hallmarks of West's game has always been his ability to hit jumpers from 15+ feet. He's making close to 47 percent of those jump shots and has even taken the occasional three pointer. Although this season is a wash for Indiana, having someone like West (even as he enters his mid 30s) will help them back into contention when George returns.

It wouldn't be a surprise if Kevin Garnett sat this one out. Garnett isn't usually on the floor for the second night of back-to-backs. If he does sit, it wouldn't be a shock to see the Lopez-Plumlee duo start the game. That combo didn't do all that well against Boston on Friday afternoon, so look for Mirza Teletovic to see a lot of playing time. As for West, he can draw the Nets big men out to the perimeter with his jump shooting and that can open up some lanes for Indiana to get to the rim. On the other side of the ball, he has always been someone that has played a physical style of defense and he'll look to do the same tonight. Even though the Pacers have taken steps back in other areas, they are still one of the league's best rebounding teams.

From the Vault

Yesterday, we showed Larry Bird in his final days as a player in the playoffs against Indiana. Today, we're gonna flip it a bit. Head on back to 2005 and watch Reggie Miller in his final days as a player against Boston in the first round.

More reading: Indy Cornrows