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Nets fall to Pacers to earn third loss of the season, 118-108

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Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — It appears the Nets are in no mood to play good basketball, suffering their third loss in four games, 118-108, against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Both teams are now 1-3.

This was another ugly game for the Nets, with the defense non-existent and the offense relying on their three-headed monster, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. With that, the offense become iso-heavy, rather than sticking to the offensive principles Kenny Atkinson used so effectively last year.

Brooklyn had 21 assists to 19 turnovers, the latter number only somewhat less than their last two games when they gave up 26 and 27. The main problem, though? Defense. The Nets got lost in the pick-and-roll, and failed to close out — again. The Pacers turned the ball over just nine times and shot 42.3 percent from three, dropping the Nets into 30th and last in perimeter defense. Before Wednesday, the Pacers had that distinction.

“We’ve got a lot to figure out,” said Kenny Atkinson post-game. “We’ve got to know each other more and get on the same page. They took it to us physically.” As for the offense: “We’re not really running anything...

“It’s multi-faceted. Transition defense was an issue [in Memphis on Sunday]. We’re trying to improve that. … Teams are shooting the 3 well against us. You can’t deny it,” Atkinson said. “We’re top 10 in [least] attempts given up, so the attempts aren’t high. It’s just their percentage is high.:

But bottom line for the coach after four games, “I’m not worried.”

It is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint, but the loss came at home to a winless team missing its best player in Victor Oladipo and after the first quarter without Myles Turner, who exited with a right ankle sprain.

It was back and forth throughout the first half, then the Nets, who had been averaging a league-leading 36 points in the third, collapsed.

The two teams were tied at 74 apiece early in the third quarter when Indiana made their run. They went on a 9-2 run when Kyrie Irving checked out of the game — 16-6 extended — and took a 10-point lead.

The Nets never got it closer than nine after falling down by 10 — a Spencer Dinwiddie three-pointer with 2:44 remaining that gave the fans the tiniest ray of hope. But, the Nets couldn’t come up with the necessary stops down the stretch.

The Nets shot 43.5 percent from the floor, shot 61.5 percent from the free throw line and 32.3 percent from three. The Pacers, meanwhile, shot 47.4 percent from the floor, 44 percent from three and 85 percent from the line.

Domantas Sabonis led the way with 29 points and eight rebounds, torching Brooklyn down low all night long. Opposing bigs have feasted on the Nets for years, and so far that hasn’t changed this year.

For Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving led the way with 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Dinwiddie scored 20 points off the bench and LeVert chipped in 15 on 6-of-18 shooting. Joe Harris took only nine shots — six from three, perhaps a biproduct of the Nets’ lack of ball movement. DeAndre Jordan finished with eight points and 17 rebounds, giving him 43 for the season.

The fans left the arena early and disappointed. While understanding this is a marathon and not a sprint, it’s hard to watch such bad basketball and not be concerned.

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KYRIE ON ESPN STORY

Kyrie Irving responded to Jackie MacMullan story that talked about her Tuesday story on the Nets which attracted attention because she suggested that the Nets have an “unspoken concern” about Irving’s “infamous mood swings.”

After the game, Irving spoke about the article.

“Human beings have mood swings... I don’t have to be perfect for anybody here or for the public,” said Irving. “That’s the world we live in... people only know a certain percentage of me.”

KYRIE SHATTERING RECORDS (NETS PR)

  • Irving who finished with 28 points, is the first player in franchise history to score 26+ points in each of the Nets’ first four games of a season. He’s averaging a league second best 35.3 points a game, behind James Harden.
  • The most points tallied by a Net in the first four games of a season had been 115 by Vince Carter in the 2006-07 campaign. Irving has 141.
  • Irving’s 16 3-point field goals made are the most in the first four games of a season in Nets history. (Second-most: 13 for Joe Harris this season.)

SLOW START

The Nets 1-3 record matches the worst since Markinson era began in 2016-17 when they were also 1-3. The Nets started the last two seasons 2-2. The 2015-16 team started 0-7 in case you’ve forgotten.

If you’re wondering about how this team compares to the 2013-14 team, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, that team started off 2-2.

For more on the game, go to our sister site, Indy Cornrows.

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The Nets will face the Houston Rockets on Friday at 7:00 PM ET.