|2:00 PM PT3:00 PM MT4:00 PM CT5:00 PM ET21:00 GMT5:00 2:00 PM MST4:00 PM EST1:00 UAE (+1)23:0017:00 ET4:00 PM CT20:00 , April 7, 2019
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana Attendance: 16,197
Nets face critical test in matchup vs. Pacers
Brooklyn Nets at Indiana Pacers
- Indiana has won nine consecutive games against Brooklyn, its longest active winning streak against any opponent. The Pacers are 17-4 against the Nets while averaging 111.9 points since 2013-14 -- both are their best against any single opponent since then.
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As the Brooklyn Nets made their playoff drive, they knew the degree of difficulty they would face with their schedule in the last few weeks, especially with the final weekend.
After getting a dramatic win over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the Nets conclude a critical back-to-back set Sunday when they visit the Indiana Pacers, who will likely be the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
"It says a lot about the team and the organization," Nets forward DeMarre Carroll said. "We just keep fighting and fighting. We don't want to stop here. We want to try to go to Indiana and pick up another one."
The Nets (40-40) enter Sunday in sixth place in the East. Though they share the same record as Orlando, they won two of three meetings with the Magic to claim the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Brooklyn also is a half-game ahead of the Detroit Pistons, who they beat in two of three meetings to get the tiebreaker. The Nets also are 1 1/2 games ahead of Miami, which they do not own the tiebreaker against and host on Wednesday.
Brooklyn is in the midst of a stretch where they are playing the top five teams in the East and it is 2-3 in the six-game stretch. The Nets are in better position because they were able to make the plays down the stretch in the 133-128 win at Milwaukee.
D'Angelo Russell scored 25 points while Caris LeVert added 24 but ultimately Joe Harris hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:24 left to give the Nets their biggest win to date.
"Tough one tomorrow night," Harris said. "It's a difficult back-to-back. The approach has to be the same. Obviously, we are fortunate to come away with a win today, but all the focus is on Indiana now. We'll try to get another one, and just establish ourselves and feel comfortable considering the playoff positioning."
While the Nets faced Milwaukee without Giannis Antetokounmpo, they will face an opponent expected to field their full roster.
Indiana (47-33) currently owns the fifth spot and is one game behind Boston, which hosts Orlando two and a half hours after the tip-off in Indianapolis. If the Celtics and Pacers finish tied, Boston wins the head-to-head tiebreaker because it won three of four meetings.
The Pacers sealed the loss in the head-to-head tiebreaker on Friday when they shot 41 percent and absorbed a 117-97 home loss to the Celtics. It also continued Indiana's recent slump.
Since winning six straight Feb. 2-11, the Pacers are 9-14 and since beating Oklahoma City at home on March 14, Indiana is 3-8 in its last 11 games. Six of those losses are by single digits and Friday was the second-most points allowed in this slump.
Even though its seeding is virtually assured, Indiana coach Nate McMillan said at practice Saturday that he will not rest players. Instead, he might limit minutes of some players.
"You kind of lose rhythm when you do that," McMillan said. "If anything, we might cut some minutes but right now we're not sitting anyone out."
That means Darren Collison will likely play after sitting out three straight games with a sore groin. Collison also missed three games from March 19-24 with a quad injury.
"It's always a boost when you get guys back and have everybody healthy," Indiana forward Thaddeus Young said. "But we want to make sure everybody's at 100 percent capacity before we let anyone touch the court or anybody get out there and play."
Indiana has won nine straight over the Nets, 12 of 14 and seven straight at home since Dec. 18, 2015.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 6, 2019