Revamped Pacers rely on new faces to cut down Nets 140-131
By MICHAEL MAROT
Oct. 19, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers kept promising this revamped team would look completely different.
They only needed one game to prove it.
Eight Pacers scored in double figures, three finished with double-doubles and Indiana produced its highest point total in nearly seven years in a 140-131 season-opening victory Wednesday night over the Brooklyn Nets, who lost Jeremy Lin to an apparent knee injury midway through the fourth quarter.
"It was a great first night and hopefully Pacers fans got a chance to see what we're capable of and what type of basketball team we are," Victor Oladipo said after finishing with 22 points, five rebounds, four steals and four assists in his Indiana debut.
Just two years ago, this was a team that relied on defense and a grind-it-out offense.
With Paul George and Jeff Teague landing in new places, the Pacers used a balanced offense and a nice blend of old and new faces to get the job done.
Darren Collison wound up with 21 points and 11 assists in his return to Indiana. Newly elected team captain Myles Turner had 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, and former Nets player Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 11 rebounds.
From an offensive standpoint, things couldn't have gone much better. The Pacers scored 140 points for the first time since putting up 144 against Denver on Nov. 9, 2010, and only the third time since 2000.
"I'm very, very happy and excited we got this win," Young said. "It gives us something to piggyback off and we have to go into that film room tomorrow and work on that defense because we gave up way too many points."
D'Angelo Russell had 30 points and five assists in his Brooklyn debut, but Lin limped to the back after a hard landing on a drive to basket. Trevor Booker added 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
But it wasn't enough to avoid a franchise-record fifth consecutive opening-night loss.
"It's not a good night for the Nets," coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We're going to have to piece it together and figure out how we can improve and get ready for the Orlando game."
Both teams had chances to take control but neither really did — even after the Pacers used a 10-0 third quarter run to break a 65-65 tie. Brooklyn never led again, though it charged back in the closing minutes by trimming a 10-point deficit to 130-126 before the Pacers finally closed it out.
Nets: Have lost all six road openers since moving to Brooklyn. ... The Nets are 3-3 all-time against Indiana in season openers. ... Brooklyn used Timofey Mozgov and Lin in the starting lineup, marking the first time in franchise history more than one undrafted player started a season opener. ... Brooklyn was 29 of 32 from the free-throw line. ... Lin had 18 points, and Caris LeVert scored 12.
Pacers: Extended their winning streak over Brooklyn to four. ... Indiana has won six of its last seven season openers and seven of its last eight home openers. ... Lance Stephenson scored 16 points off the bench. ... Bojan Bogdanovic scored 14 points against his former team. ... The Pacers blocked nine shots and outrebounded Brooklyn 47-43.
WHERE'S THE D?
Neither Atkinson nor Indiana coach Nate McMillan could quibble with the offensive showcase, but both were clearly concerned about the defensive play.
Indiana shot 52 percent from the field. The Nets kept it close by going 12 of 30 on 3-pointers. The teams combined for 50 fouls, leading to 64 free throws, too.
Against rebuilding teams, that may be good enough to be competitive. Against the rest of the league, both coaches know they must be better.
"I thought we completely broke down defensively," Atkinson said. "I wish I could sit here and say there was one area, but it was a multitude of things."
THE NEW FACES
Each team had plenty of new faces Wednesday and most had a big hand in what happened.
Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll, acquired in summer trades, finished with 12 and 10 points for Brooklyn.
Indiana also got 16 points and seven rebounds from Domantas Sabonis, the second acquisition in the George trade, and 11 points from former Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph.
Nets: Host Orlando in home opener on Saturday.
Pacers: Host Portland on Friday.
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