The Brooklyn Nets put up a fight Saturday night. But they were no match for the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers, who blew out the Nets 105-91 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets (10-20) have lost five of their last six games. They are 0-3 against the Pacers (24-5, 14-1 home) this season. Brooklyn played a phenomenal first half, trailing just 58-56 at recess. Then the third quarter happened. The Nets, who came in second-to-last in average third-quarter scoring margin, were outscored 28-20 in the stanza. They are now 0-18 when trailing after three quarters.
Paul Pierce, who had gone 5-for-26 from the field in his previous three games, did his best to carry the Nets on Saturday night, scoring 18 points.
Deron Williams (14 points, six assists), Joe Johnson (4-for-12 shooting) and Kevin Garnett (two points, seven rebounds, one technical foul) were largely nonfactors. Lincoln High School product Lance Stephenson (23 points, nine rebounds, seven assists), Paul George (24 points) and George Hill (21 points) weren't.
Stephenson jawed back and forth with Pierce all game long. Roy Hibbert and Reggie Evans exchanged words late. Hibbert elbowed Evans and was hit with a technical. At the final buzzer, they met at center court and talked some more.
The Pacers shot 53.5 percent from the field and won the rebounding (41-28) and points in the paint battles (42-34). The Nets are 0-15 when giving up more than 100 points in a game.
Brooklyn used its 14th starting lineup of the season, with Mirza Teletovic (17 points) stepping in for Shaun Livingston. Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Andray Blatche (personal) remain out.
UP NEXT: The Nets travel to play the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.