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Indiana hands Nets third straight loss, 109-97

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — One step forward, two steps back. That’s just how it’s been for the Nets in the last couple of weeks.

After showing perhaps one of their best stretches of basketball winning four of six, the Nets followed that stretch with a three-game losing streak – the latest loss coming 109-97 against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. They’re four games back of the eight seed (we know, we know. Development over anything.)

It’s hard not to peak, though. The Nets currently stand five games back in the loss column.

Indiana showed their teeth early and feasted on the Brooklyn’s porous defense all night. They shot 57 percent overall, 44 percent from 3-point and out-rebounded the Nets 43-29. Victor Oladipo was a force, as he’s been all season, with 26 points.

The Pacers began to assert themselves in the second quarter when they outscored the Nets 31-19 and led by 11 at half. They never looked back.

The Nets failed to find much offense other than Allen Crabbe, who scored 14 of his 17 points in the first quarter, then inexpliciy took one shot in the entire second half.

As a whole, the Nets combined for just 45 points in the second and third quarters. A late jolt from Joe Harris kept the deficit within single digits entering the fourth, but it didn’t matter.

The Nets got it within five early in the fourth, but the Pacers answered with an 8-0 run and led by 13 with less than nine minutes remaining. They never got it closer than seven after that point.

Another disappointing game for the young Nets. And, Jahlil Okafor didn’t even play.

Quincy Acy dropped 14 points with four 3-pointers, while Caris LeVert and Joe Harris chipped in 14 off the bench as well. Tyler Zeller had another solid start, finishing with 13 points.

Meanwhile, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (2-of-10), DeMarre Carroll (1-of-6) and Spencer Dinwiddie (1-of-6) combined to shoot 4-of-22 from the field. The Nets as a whole shot 42 percent but were outscored 44-38 inside the paint. Ultimately, defense and rebounding did them in… again.

NETS CALL UP MILTON DOYLE

The Brooklyn Nets announced before the game that they waived guard Yakuba Ouattara in order to sign Long Island Nets standout Milton Doyle to a two-way deal. Doyle, 24, played point for Brooklyn in summer league and has played well in Long Island, averaging 21 points and six assists per game.

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The Nets are now 11-18 on the season with no signs of D’Angelo Russell returning any time soon. It’s beginning to slip away.

For another perspective, head on over to Indy Cornrows.