INDIANAPOLIS – The wild ride that is the 2017-18 Indiana Pacers (19-14) season continued on Saturday night.
Despite trailing by as many as 19, and leading by eight with roughly a minute left to play, it took overtime for Indy to top the Brooklyn Nets (12-20). Victor Oladipo was spectacular again, scoring 38 points and handing out six assists in the Blue and Gold’s 123-119 victory.
Indiana hit the Nets with 140 points on opening night and handled Brooklyn relatively easily in New York less than a week ago, but the Pacers had much more trouble against this Eastern Conference foe on Saturday.
Brooklyn connected on seven of their first nine shot attempts, sending them to an early 21-9 advantage. Indy closed the gap slightly by quarter’s end, as the Nets held a 28-21 edge after one.
The Nets were hot from downtown on Saturday and used five three-pointers in the second quarter to build a comfortable halftime lead. All in all, Brooklyn nailed nine first half threes and went into the break with a 57-41 cushion.
Indy has shown plenty of resiliency throughout the course of this season and this game was no different.
The Pacers started the second half on a roll, a 11-0 roll to be exact, to cut into Brooklyn’s lead in a hurry. Later in the third it was a 10-0 run that propelled the home team to their first lead since the opening minutes. Each side traded buckets down the stretch of the frame, with the Nets emerging with a 81-80 advantage after three.
It was quite the game from that point on.
With Brooklyn ahead by a couple of points, the Blue and Gold broke loose on another game-shifting run. This was also a 11-0 run, capped by an and-one on a circus shot from Lance Stephenson. Leading by nine with 7:14 to play, Indy kept the Nets at a distance as the fourth quarter wore on until Brooklyn clawed their way back into the ballgame at the last moment.
Trailing 107-99 with 1:27 remaining, the Nets got it going at the right time.
DeMarre Carroll‘s three with 54 seconds left trimmed Indiana’s lead down to 108-106, but Darren Collison answered on the other end to push it back to four with 31 ticks to go. A Brooklyn basket knocked Indy’s lead back to two and after Myles Turner hit one of two free throws, the Nets had hope.
A controversial foul call sent this game to overtime, as Cory Joseph was charged with the personal as Spencer Dinwittie attempted a triple with 19 seconds on the clock. Dinwittie made all three free throws and after Oladipo’s potential game-winner was no good, we were in for free basketball.
The Pacers held the edge in overtime, but Brooklyn found a way to tie the score up with 46 seconds left on another Carroll three-pointer. A foul on the other end led to a pair of Oladipo free throws, handing the home team the lead again. Dinwittie then misfired on a go-ahead three, leaving Oladipo at the line with 0.9 seconds. The former IU star knocked both free throws down (he was 10-for-10 on the night) to put this one on ice.
Indiana will be back in action after Christmas for an important clash with the Detroit Pistons. Indy’s final game of the season versus the Pistons will come in Detroit on Tuesday with tip slated for 7:00 p.m.