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Exhausted Nets visit the Pacers

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"It's the weekend!"
"It's the weekend!"
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

That was an adventure. Early on, it looked as if the Nets were gonna lose their second straight game. However, they managed to get it in gear and beat the Milwaukee Bucks in triple overtime last night. The bad thing about a game like that is that it was on the first leg of a back-to-back. That being said, when you're trying to make a push into the playoffs, you've got to shrug it off and give a good effort even when you're low on energy. Looking at the standings, the Nets still have three teams to leapfrog if they want to steal the eighth seed.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Indiana Pacers. Coming into the year, I think pretty much everyone had the Pacers as being out of the playoff mix. However, thanks to their effort and the sorry state of the bottom portion of the East, they're in line to make their fifth consecutive postseason appearance. After a seven game winning streak, Indy has now lost their last four games, including last night's contest in Cleveland.

One piece of good news for the Nets: They won't have to deal with the emotions of a Paul George return.  The Indianapolis Star reports...

Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel said All-Star forward Paul George will not be returning to the court Saturday and the team re-affirmed that late Friday night, announcing he was "out" against the Nets.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WCBS 880 AM on the radio. Tip off is after 7 PM.

Injuries

The Nets are fine. Sergey Karasev has begun his rehab and Mirza Teletovic continues his.

David West is dealing with an illness and is questionable. Paul George is close, but not all the way back yet. Soon tho.

The game

What's shaking with these teams? Let's check it out:

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Indiana

Record

28-39 30-38

Pace

94.71 95.5

Offensive Efficiency

100.7 99.9

Defensive Efficiency

104.7 100.5

Turnover Rate

14.9 14.5

Assist Rate

16.1 16.7

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.9 23.7

Rebounding Rate

48.6 51

Free Throw Rate

26.9 25.9

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.8 47.9

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

50.1 47.6

Indiana won the first game in December.

Anybody seen Deron Williams? Deron only played 22 minutes overall and barely saw any time during the overtime sessions. It's been an incredibly disappointing season for Williams and you have to wonder if he'll be in Lionel Hollins' plans coming down the stretch. Even with his own suspect play, Jarrett Jack has seen more of the late game minutes in Williams' place. Brooklyn is in a tricky spot with both of their guards, but D-Will will be guarding George Hill. Hill had a pretty fantastic night in Cleveland. He led the team in scoring with 24 and shut down superstar point guard Kyrie Irving. Hill should be able to make sure Williams is

Markel Brown is still listed as the starter, but Bojan Bogdanovic is getting the majority of the minutes. Bojan made some big shots late and when he's playing well, he can space the floor and draw defenses to him which in turn frees up his teammates for cleaner looks on offense. Rodney Stuckey is the starting two guard for Indiana and is shooting a career best 38.6 percent from three point range.

Player to watch: Roy Hibbert

When you consider how maligned Hibbert was last spring, it's impressive that he's been able to bounce back this year. He's averaging 10 points and seven rebounds a game, but his is only shooting 44.6 percent from the field. Without PG, Indy has had to experiment more on offense. Frank Vogel explains:

"I have encouraged his perimeter jump shot more this year than in the past. He's a good shooter and the way this league plays pick n' roll defense, they keep their bigs in the paint, it is one way to take advantage and get him a few more looks."

Defense is where the money is. Hibbert is one of the best defensive big men in the league and has essentially mastered the verticality rule. Opponents are only 41.8 percent at the rim and that benefits Indy's perimeter defenders as they know they have someone that can clean up for them if their opponent drives by them.

Hibbert will be matched up with Brook Lopez. Throughout my little run here at NetsDaily, I've made it a point to show fools getting dunked on. If you think back to earlier in the season, Brook Lopez was on the receiving end of a jam thanks to DeAndre Jordan. Last night, Lopez got Ersan Ilyasova:

I approve. He ended up scoring a game high 32 points and collecting a season high 18 rebounds. He got criticism in some circles for Milwaukee grabbing all of those offensive rebounds (38 (!!!!) in total and in one comical sequence, six on a single possession), but that sort of lets every other Net on the court off the hook. The Nets did a bad job of getting him the ball throughout the overtime sessions, but he made his limited touches in OT number three. If the Nets were smart, they'd look to get Lopez the ball more often. If the Nets are able to get Hibbert on the bench, Ian Mahinmi will be in charge of stopping Lopez.

From the Vault

The Pacers and Heat have been doing battle for years. Head on back to the 2004 playoffs and see what Jermaine O'Neal and company were able to do against a rookie Dwyane Wade.

More reading: Indy Cornrows