INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Joe Harris added 19 on Sunday, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers and back into the NBA playoffs for the first time in four years.
The Nets moved into position to clinch when Miami lost in overtime at Toronto earlier in the day. It’s also the first time since 2014-15 the Nets have not posted a losing record.
Domantas Sabonis finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pacers. Thaddeus Young scored 16 in a game coach Nate McMillan promised to closely monitor the minutes his players logged.
And Brooklyn wasted no time in taking full advantage of that opportunity to end the NBA’s sixth-longest active playoff drought.
The Nets scored the first nine points and forced three turnovers in less than two minutes, an early barrage that forced Indiana to spend most of the game playing catch-up.
Twice the Pacers took the lead on 3-pointers, from Myles Turner and Wesley Matthews, but Russell answered the second one with a 9-footer to give Brooklyn a 19-18 lead with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
Indiana never led again.
Instead, the Nets steadily extended the lead. They were up 52-44 at the half, scored the last seven points of the third quarter to make it 82-69 and used two 3s early in the fourth to build a 95-78 cushion.
Nets: Also ended a nine-game losing streak in the series and a seven-game losing streak at Indiana to avoid a second straight season sweep. ... Caris LeVert finished with 18 points while Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen each scored 12. Dinwiddie had six assists. Allen had eight rebounds. ... Brooklyn was 11 of 36 on 3s, moving within 16 of breaking the franchise record (1,041) set last season. ... The Nets had a 52-33 rebounding advantage including a 17-5 edge in offensive rebounds. ... Russell’s streak of four straight games with 25 or more points ended. ... DeMarre Carroll left midway through the third quarter and headed to the locker room with an undisclosed injury. He did not return to the game.
Pacers: Have lost five of seven and their last two home games to fall to close out the regular season at 29-12 at home. ... Sabonis recorded his 30th double-double of the season. ... Bojan Bogdanovic had 13 points, while Cory Joseph added 12. ... Myles Turner finished with six points, four rebounds and three blocks before leaving with a sore right ankle midway through the third quarter. He did not return. ... Darren Collison was 2 of 12 from the field and missed all four of his 3-pointers after missing the previous three games with an injured groin. He had four points and six assists.
Nets: Will celebrate their playoff berth by closing the regular season at home against Miami on Wednesday.
Pacers: Can pick up their first season sweep of the Hawks since 2004-05 with a win at Atlanta on Wednesday.
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