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Lopez, Bogdanovic lead Nets to crucial win over Pacers, 123-111

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

THIS is the Brooklyn Nets' season right here. Crazy to say, considering how they're still 10 games under .500, but hey, they're digging out wins when they've needed them most.

They answered the bell vs. Milwaukee Friday night in triple overtime, and they handled their business against the Indiana Pacers, 123-111, Saturday night on the road. It's the first time since 1992 that the Nets scored more than 120 points in consecutive games. How impressive was it? Brooklyn shot 61.3 percent, the highest mark Indiana has allowed on its home court in franchise history.

It's come at a huge time.

Before the Pacers game, Nets were 1.5 games back from their opponent along with the eighth seeded Celtics, who they will play Monday in Brooklyn. By Sunday morning, they're one game out of the playoffs. They've suddenly jolted themselves back into the Eastern Conference post-season race.

Brooklyn was up by one with 7:31 remaining in the game, but went on a 15-6 run over the next four minutes to boost the lead to 10. Bojan Bogdanovic scored nine points in the quarter and hit on all eight of his shots during the game, finishing with 21 points on the night. He's played like a new player since the All-Star break and it's certainly paid off . He's discussed how confidence plagued him early in the year, but that problem seems long, long gone. Over the past four games, he's shot 63.8 percent overall and 53.8 percent from deep while averaging 17.8 points per game.

As they rode on the back of Bogdanovic in the fourth, Jarrett Jack -- not Deron Williams -- was the facilitator for Brooklyn's offense late in the game. Williams had 17 points on the night (all in the first half), but Jack stepped up to the plate and nailed the dagger floater in the lane with 59 seconds left.

They outscored the Pacers 35-24 in the fourth quarter.

Brook Lopez wasn't as perfect as Bogie was, but man he was pretty damn close. The big fella finished with 26 points and four blocks on 11-of-14 shooting. His offense was stellar. At certain points of the game, Lopez would angrily call for the ball so he could go right at Roy Hibbert, mostly in the third quarter where he scored 14 points and kept Brooklyn afloat. It comes one night after he scored 32 points. Moreover, his four blocks are more evidence of his impressive rim protection.

Bogadanovic and Lopez have been the leaders the last two games, but the rest of the crew has stepped up when it's most desperately needed. Joe Johnson (14 points), once again played the role of Joe Jesus, nailing a crucial shot when the Nets needed it late in the fourth.

The team scored 123 points and committed only nine turnovers on the night. They shot the ball a ridiculous 61.3% shooting from the field and 50% from three. The starters looked great from the start, namely Deron Williams who, yes, sat out in the fourth quarter, but set the tone for Brooklyn early with 15 points in the first quarter.

Indiana made some decent attempts to get themselves back in the game, but failed to full take control of their opportunities. They scored 111 points on 50% shooting with all five starters finishing in double figures with George Hill leading the way with 18 points and nine assists.

"I think we came out the way we knew we needed to," Lopez said. "We all came out and tried to be aggressive. When the other team made a run, we responded."

"We controlled the game from the first minute to the last minute," Bogdanovic said. "We're going to have to continue to do stuff if we're going to make the playoffs."

"We talked before about how important this two-game stretch was, and we got two wins," said D-Will. "Now we have to keep it going."

This Monday, the Nets will face off against the Boston Celtics on their home court -- the team they stand one game away from in the playoffs, and the same team they traded three first-round picks in return for three players that are no longer on the team. This Wednesday, the Nets will play the Charlotte Hornets, another team they trail by less than a game in the conference. This is the season.

But now, there's hope.

Quarter by quarter:

First... The Nets didn't look like a team that played a triple overtime game last night. Deron Williams was the leader of a ridiculously good shooting quarter from Brooklyn, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He looked confident and by no mistake, he made the Nets a much better team. They were 12-of-21 from the field and led 31-29. It was a hot start for them, but the defense wasn't getting the job done. Indiana stayed in the game because of 59% shooting and a balanced scoring attack.

It's still the Nets, though, and we've seen this before.

Second... The offense stayed the same. The Nets started the second quarter by hitting nine straight shots and finished the half shooting 64% from the field, but failed to take full control of the game. They led by seven at the half, but allowed the Pacers to shoot 57% with Roy Hibbert leading the charge. It was an bittersweet half, but hey, it's much better than what we're used to complaining about with this team.

Score at the half: Nets 63, Pacers 56.

Third... The Pacers went on a 19-7 run when their deficit increased to 12 late in the second quarter. They tied the game at 70 apiece, and just like that, the Nets' squandered a decent lead. The teams went back and forth throughout the quarter, with the Nets riding on the back of Brook Lopez. He scored 14 of the team's 25 points in the third, giving him 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Brooklyn led, 88-87.

Fourth... The Nets started jumped out to an 8-0 run and increased their lead to nine within the first two minutes of the quarter. It was a huge run that was sparked from Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored five of the eight and had 16 points up to that point.

The Nets continued to ride the back of Bogdanovic, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from three. Brooklyn went on a 10-2 run late in the fourth quarter, with Bogdanovic once again scoring five of the 10. The Nets built their lead up to 10 with three minutes left, and the guys in black were jumping up and down as they were living up to the high-stake game. Jarrett Jack, not Deron Williams, was on the floor for the entire fourth quarter and nailed the dagger floater with 59 seconds left. Nets went up 10.

Final score: Nets 123, Pacers 111.

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