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It was fun while it lasted: Indiana snaps Brooklyn’s 7-game win streak, 114-106

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Well, it was fun while it lasted.

In another close game down the stretch, the Brooklyn Nets (15-19) faltered for the first time in over two weeks and lost to the Indiana Pacers (21-12), 114-106, Friday night at Barclays Center. The loss ended Brooklyn’s league-best seven game win streak.

Unlike most games during the win streak, the Nets were on the wrong end of things in the first half. Indiana took away the three ball and forced the Nets baseline, which led to a ton of turnovers and a 10-point deficit at half.

But they stayed resilient.

The Nets scored 31 points in the third and brought it within four entering the fourth. As they inched closer and the teams exchanged leads, Rodions Kurucs nailed a huge three-pointer to take a 103-100 lead with three minutes left. Kurucs finished with a career-high 24 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 4-of-5 from deep and 8-of-10 from the line.

Then, came Victor Oladipo. Oladipo came down and slammed one home with his left hand. On the ensuing possession, former Net Bojan Bogdanovic nailed a three to put Indiy up five with 1:22 left.

Spencer Dinwiddie tried getting in the lane but Myles Turner stripped him. Kenny Atkinson was so irate there wasn’t a call, he stormed onto the court, saying things to the officials that probably won’t be said at Christmas dinner.

Kenny was ejected for the first time this season ... and the Pacers finished on a 14-3 run. The streak was done.

“We’ve gotta be mentally stronger. I’ve gotta be mentally stronger fighting through those situations,” Atkinson said post-game. As for his ejection, the Nets coach said, “It was an intense game. Tough game. Just got emotional. I said my peace to the referee during the game. He didn’t like what I said.”

The Nets shot 11-of-17 from three in the second half — 16-of-31 on the night. Their downfall? Turnovers. They had 20 compared to Indiana’s 11.

Oladipo was the high scorer of the night with 26 points, while former Net Thaddeus Young followed up with 21 points and another former Net Bojan No. For Brooklyn, Kurucs led the way, followed by DeMarre Carroll (16 points) and Dinwiddie (15 points, nine assists).

D’Angelo Russell had an inconsistent night and sat the final five minutes. He finished with three points, nine assists and four turnovers on 1-of-8 shooting. He had averaged 18 points and eight assists during the win streak.

And so, that was that. The question now is: How do the Nets respond to a loss? The last time they responded to a tough loss, they won seven straight!

Asked what he told his players after the loss, Atkinson said, “Bring it in. We huddle up and move on. We have another game Sunday.”

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PLAYOFFS?!

Yes, playoffs! The Nets entered Friday night sitting just two games out of the sixth seed, 1.5 games out of the seventh seed and 0.5 game out of the eighth seed. Here are the games to keep an eye on in the meantime...

Pistons-Hornets (Friday), Magic-Bulls (Friday), Nuggets-Clippers (pick watch, Saturday), Wizards-Suns (Saturday).

After the loss? Not much difference. They’re a game out of eighth, two out of sixth.

STEPHEN A. TALKS KAWHI AND BROOKLYN

On Thursday’s episode of the Stephen A. Smith show, he discusses how the Nets (not the Knicks) deserve respect around the league and that anything is possible with the two max slots open this upcoming off-season. He mentioned Kawhi Leonard, specifically.

This isn’t the first time Stephen A., among others, have linked Kawhi to Brooklyn.

MUSA OUT A MONTH

Dzanan Musa told Brian Lewis he’ll be out a month after dislocating his shoulder. No surprise, but Musa also told the Post reporter that it could have been a lot worse. After he hurt it in a Long Island Nets game.

“Oh yeah, because my arm just went off. I didn’t feel it for like five minutes,” Musa said. “It was numb. [I couldn’t feel it], not at all. I felt like my arm was gone, so I was pretty afraid.”

He’s averaged a team-high 20.1 points with 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 32.4 minutes for Long Island, but admits to being frustrated.

“Yeah. It’s tough sometimes, you know, because my primary goal is to be here and help the guys,” Musa said. “But I’m happy that we have this seven-game stretch of winning, so I’m happy to see the guys that are winning.”

Meanwhile, Kenny Atkinson talked about two other injured Nets, Allen Crabbe who was out again Friday and Treveon Graham, who has been out since October with a hamstring strain.

Atkinson admitted Allen Crabbe has taken “longer than we thought,” but insists he’s almost ready to return. As for Graham, Atkinson said he’s little further away than Crabbe.

“He’s done some 5-on-5 work. His timetable is a little longer because he’s been out so long,” Atkinson noted. “But I like what I see with the progress. He’s really out there on the floor doing a ton of stuff. It’s just probably going to take him a little longer because he’s been out so long.”

ED DAVIS KEEPS IT REAL

Ed Davis isn’t flashy, isn’t the most skilled shooter or passer, but he rebounds the ball, sets good screens and he’s just an overall good dude that everybody likes to have around. Sounds like a culture fit in Brooklyn. We know he wants to stay here long-term...

Read more from James Herbert here.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For another perspective, head on over to Indy Cornrows, our Pacer sister site on SB Nation.

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The Nets will face the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at 6:00 pm.