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Indiana hands Nets 14th straight road loss, 121-109

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Cash once sang, "On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again."

If only the Nets felt the same.

They dropped their 14th straight game on the road and diminished their already horrid record away from Barclays Center to 1-17, following a 121-109 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Nets, now 8-26 on the season, will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow in Brooklyn. They’ve lost four straight games and own the worst record in the NBA.

And so, we sing the blues again…

It was another one of those games for the Nets. They started flat and the defense looked awful. They trailed by as much as 13 and allowed Indiana to score 34 points in the opening quarter. Still, behind the gritty play of Trevor Booker, they went on a 24-11 run and tied the game at 38 apiece. Soon thereafter, they took the lead… for three seconds.

The Pacers regained the lead and finished the half on a 13-4 run to take a 59-52-halftime lead.

Things only got worse.

Indiana went on an 18-4 run and extended their lead to 21. The Nets, notorious for their poor third quarters, reverted back to their abysmal play in Washington that caused them to call for a players-only meeting. Only that wasn’t happening again and the fight was gone.

Especially on the defense end. They allowed 38-third quarter points as Indiana totaled 97 points entering the fourth. The Nets hung around and trailed by 13, but Indiana immediately answered with an 8-0 run to start the final frame.

Four Pacers finished in double figures, led by Jeff Teague (21 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds), Myles Turner (25 points and 15 rebounds) and Paul George (26 points, three steals). Overall, they shot 51.6 percent and 10-of-22 from 3-point. The Nets forced only six turnovers and that made it even more difficult to create offense.

Brook Lopez had another bleak night with 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Meanwhile, Trevor Booker finished with 16 points and six rebounds, but was held scoreless in the second half.

Kenny Atkinson had some tough words for the Nets starters, but praise for the bench.

“The starters took us out early, and there was a big difference,’’ Atkinson said. “We came out like mush for some reason. This [Pacers] team’s too good to come with so-so energy. It’s not good enough, especially on the road.”

Off the bench, Spencer Dinwiddie and Sean Kilpatrick each scored 13 apiece, including eight rebounds from SK. Luis Scola score seven after logging 23 minutes (Brook Lopez played 26).

"Our bench was great," Atkinson said. "Justin helped, and Spencer [Dinwiddie] did a great job. Their starters took us out early. There was a big difference."

They nailed 17 3-pointers on 38 attempts and shot 45.6 percent from the field.

The Nets continue to bring Caris Levert along slowly.  LeVert made 2-of-3 three-point attempts and had six points in 21 minutes in the Nets’ 121-109 loss.

"If you ask me the things that excite me the most about Caris, you need wing-stoppers in this league," Atkinson said. "He’s shown some evidence he can do it. There’s also been moments where [Utah’s] Gordon Hayward, he goes under [the screen] twice on him [Tuesday night]. He’ll get better at that as he gets more accustomed to personnel."

HAMILTON PERFORMS

Justin Hamilton finally looked cool and confident with 16 points and eight rebounds on 4-of-5 3-point shooting. It was his first game with multiple threes since November 20 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

INACTIVES:

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (right hip tendinitis) & Jeremy Lin (hamstring).

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We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Adam "Snacks" Geller, Stage Manager for YES who passed away after a tough fight with colon cancer. He was 39.