Nets basketball is back, which means life is back to normal.
During the offseason, the team said several times how the M.O. of this group is playing with grit, playing with a chip on their shoulders. They all have something to prove. However, things didn’t start off as smooth as they hoped.
As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. The game story was the awful defense, but the real story was around Jeremy Lin, who left the game late in the fourth quarter after a non-contact injury to his knee. There are no details yet. Lin missed 46 games due to injury last season.
The Brooklyn Nets (0-1) were defeated by the Indiana Pacers (1-0) in a shootout, 140-131, Wednesday night at Bankers Fieldhouse. The Nets simply couldn’t come up with stops at any point in the game – highlighted by a 41-point third quarter.
The Nets have not won a season opener since the inaugural season in Brooklyn back in 2012.
Both teams stayed close throughout the first half. D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 16 points in the half, but on the other end, Victor Oladipo led with 19 points and kept Indiana afloat. The Pacers took a 9-point lead late in the first half and looked to be pulling away, but the Nets answered with a 9-2 run and cut the deficit down to two at half.
Indiana scored 36 points in the second quarter. The Nets fought it off, but it was only a preview into the ugly third quarter. Indiana came out of the gates on a 10-2 run and didn’t look back. They scored 41 points and led by eight heading into the fourth quarter.
It looked a whole lot like last year. The Nets had to dig themselves out of a hole, while playing putrid defense and turning the ball over at a very bad rate. Not to mention, the interior defense was the weakest part of the defense – a worry heading into the season with lack of size.
The Pacers were up by 10 late in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Lin attacked the hole and went down hard. Lin was down grimacing in pain and holding his knee saying, “I’m done”. He was immediately assisted to the locker room.
Nets cut it to 4 and rallied behind Lin’s injury, but Myles Turner put home the dagger free throws after the Nets committed their 20th turnover of the night. It was appropriate. Indiana outscored the Nets 34-33 in the fourth quarter.
D’Angelo Russell had a great debut with 30 points and five assists in 30 minutes. Russell did basically whatever he wanted — penetrating to the hole and hitting his three-pointers (4-of-8). Russell is the fifth Net to score 30+ points in a season opener and the first since Stephon Marbury in the 1999 opener (39 points).
Off the bench, Trevor Booker led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Allen Crabbe (3-of-5) and Caris LeVert (5-of-15) scored 12 apiece. Jeremy Lin scored 19 points, Hollis-Jefferson 14 points and eight rebounds and DeMarre Carroll 10 points and nine rebounds. All 10 players that logged minutes, scored at least one bucket.
For Indiana Myles Turner set the tempo with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Victor Oladipo scored 22 and Darren Collison chipped in 21. Former Nets Thaddeus Young (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (14 points) had their way with Brooklyn’s porous D.
Brooklyn nailed 12-of-30 three-pointers, but turned the ball over 20 times to its 22 assists. It came down to their mishandling of the ball and awful defense — particularly in the paint where they allowed 66 points.
Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin will undergo evaluation of right knee in New York Thursday, league source tells ESPN. Tremendous concern on injury.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 19, 2017
Next up: Home opener vs. Orlando, Friday at 7:30 pm.