NEW YORK – – LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, reaching 20,000 for his career, to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 105-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
James Harden came out of a slump at the start of the season with 29 points and Kevin Durant added 22 as the Nets tied their record at 3-3.
“A solid win,” Durant said, later adding that the Nets “did a good job of fighting back.”
Aldridge became the 48th player in league history and the seventh active player to score 20,000 points.
“He has the instinct to score,” Durant said. â€œ(This is a) huge accomplishment. … (A) an important step. “
Indiana fell to 1-5 overall and 0-4 on the road despite 28 points from Torrey Craig. Chris Duarte added 19, Domantas Sabonis contributed 16 and Jeremy Lamb contributed with 12.
“We just have to stay in the fight,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. â€œWe have a lot to gain from games at the moment. ‘Gonna (gonna) have to stay together and play together.’
The Nets started slow against a Pacers team that played without Isaiah Jackson (hyperextended right knee) and former Net Caris LeVert (lower back stress fracture) and trailed 16 after Craig knocked down a jumper from 11 feet with 9:17 left in the second quarter. But Brooklyn finished the quarter with a 28-9 streak to lead 58-55 at halftime. Harden has scored 13 points in that streak.
By the end of the third quarter, the advantage was increased to 85-74, Durant playing a key role. Even though he only scored four points in the third, he took six rebounds and distributed four assists, while apparently being all over the field. The beneficiary was Aldridge, who scored eight points on most of the mid-range jumpers.
â€œI was trying to shake things up,â€ Durant said.
And yet the Nets found themselves unable to pull away from the exhausted Pacers, who drew even at 90 after Sabonis made a free throw with 5:15 left of fourth. It was as close as Indiana would get, as the all-star Brooklyn triumvirate scored on either an assist on the Nets’ last 15 points.
â€œAll you can ask is that we give ourselves a chance to win,â€ said Craig. â€œI think we did it tonight. I think we competed for most of the game.
Pacers: The question asked of Carlisle in his pre-game media availability was simple and straightforward: How do you defend Durant? His response: “Every time he touches (the ball) in half the field he threatens to score,” Carlisle said. â€œAnd so, limited touches are on everyone’s wish list. (But it’s) very hard to do because it’s 7ft and you throw it right up there. He has amazing ball skills. So (we) want to make it as hard as possible for him to get to his places, (and hard for him) to have rhythm all the time and things like that. Very difficult work.
Nets: The Nets were among the preseason favorites to win the NBA Championship, but coach Steve Nash said his team is a work in progress. â€œIt’s a process for us,â€ Nash said. â€œWe’re losing Kyrie (Irving), and as the guys are trying to get in shape and 10 new guys, it’s different. There is a period of learning to play together and learning our best way to score the ball effectively and efficiently is a process. It will take us some time. So it’s not comparable to the previous look in many ways. We have to work on it and figure out how we can learn to play together in a really effective and consistent way. “
Pacers: Toronto host Saturday night.
Nets: Continue the six-game homestead ownership by hosting Detroit on Sunday.
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