What's Buzzing:
23-5
103 -
Team 1 2 3 4
IND 19 26 30 28
BKN 17 22 19 28
86
9-18

Stephenson, George lead Pacers to rout of Nets

The Associated Press
Stephenson, George lead Pacers to rout of Nets
.

View gallery

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Lance Stephenson #1 of the Indiana Pacers goes up to dunk during a game against …

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lance Stephenson gave the home fans something to cheer, and that hasn't happened often in Brooklyn this season.

And the way the Nets are going, it may not happen many more times.

''I think it's getting very close to just accepting losing,'' coach Jason Kidd said.

Stephenson scored a career-high 26 points in his hometown, Paul George also had 26, and the Indiana Pacers went on to their third straight easy victory, 103-86 over the Nets on Monday night.

Stephenson, who recorded his NBA-leading third triple-double of the season Sunday in a rout of Boston, did most of his damage as a scorer, back where he did plenty of it in high school. He became the career scoring leader in New York state, with nearly 3,000 points at Abraham Lincoln High School.

Dozens of fans saluted him as he exited the court through the tunnel, and Stephenson, unable to hide his grin afterward, figures he knew most of them.

''I just was very motivated and hyped for this game. I couldn't sleep at night. I'm just happy we got the W,'' said Stephenson, who coach Frank Vogel said should be the leading choice for the Most Improved Player award that George won last season.

David West finished with 13 points for the Pacers, who pulled away in the third period, when Paul Pierce was ejected for a flagrant foul in only the second scoreless game of his career.

Indiana followed its only losing streak of the season by beating Houston and Boston by a combined 60 points, then blew this one open after a competitive first half.

''Lance Stephenson and Paul George just keep putting in special performances and they're really giving us a big lift,'' Vogel said.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Nets, who lost their third straight. Kevin Garnett, moving to the center spot after Brook Lopez was lost to a broken right foot, had 12.

Lopez was the Nets' leading scorer, and his loss - and watching how easily the Pacers dominated the third quarter - make it hard to believe the Nets can turn around their 9-18 record and reach their lofty expectations.

''We're kind of getting comfortable with losing and we've got to make a stand with that because when things get tough, do we just give in?'' Kidd said. ''And most of the time right now we do.''

The Nets host Chicago on Christmas. Deron Williams, who shot 3 of 9 in an admittedly poor performance, disagreed with Kidd's statement about accepting losing.

''I'm not comfortable with losing. It's not fun,'' he said. ''It's not fun not only when we're losing during the game, but when you go home sitting and thinking about it.''

Neither team managed a double-digit lead in the first half. The Pacers went ahead by eight late in the second quarter on Stephenson's 3-pointer, and they took a 45-39 advantage into halftime.

George hit a 3-pointer to open the third and it was all Indiana from there, highlighted by a 20-4 run that turned an eight-point lead into a 71-47 bulge.

Pierce was ejected during the blitz. George Hill stole a bad pass and was going in for a layup and Pierce hustled back and appeared to be trying to wrap him up, but his arm ended up going around Hill's neck for a clothesline tackle. Referees ruled it a flagrant 2 after review, an automatic ejection, though even Hill wasn't sure it warranted that.

''It was a basketball play. I think back in the day, hard fouls was good,'' he said. ''So, it was a hard foul, but at the end of the day, don't let it rattle you and that's what I thought about.''

Pierce finished 0 for 7. His only other scoreless night in a 15-year career came in a 10-minute outing against the Charlotte Hornets on March 9, 1999, during his rookie season, according to STATS.

Nets reserve Jason Terry had 11 points in his first appearance since Nov. 20 after he missed the last 15 games with a bruised left knee. Andray Blatche also scored 11.

Notes: The teams meet again Saturday at Indiana, the start of punishing three-game trip for the Nets that follows with visits to San Antonio and Oklahoma City. ... The Pacers, who had 29 and 28 assists in their last two games, finished with 16. ... Danny Granger was 0 for 7 in 14 scoreless minutes.

---

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

View Comments (21)
  • Team USA look to sweep golds in Rio

    Team USA look to sweep golds in Rio

    By Frank Pingue TORONTO (Reuters) - Team USA will be without many star players in Rio due mainly to concerns over Zika and injuries, but such is the depth of the country's basketball talent that they are expected to cruise to a third consecutive … More »

    Reuters - 6 hours ago
  • The NBPA is funding health insurance for most retired players

    The NBPA is funding health insurance for most retired players

    Michele Roberts speaks at a union event during the 2015 NBA Finals. Michele Roberts has attempted to reform many aspects of the NBPA since she became its executive director in July 2014, but one of her most aggressive pushes has been to connect … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 8 hours ago
  • NBPA to fund ex-players' health coverage

    NBPA to fund ex-players' health coverage

    The National Basketball Players Association's player representatives have voted unanimously to fund health insurance for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service. ''The game has never before been more popular, and all the … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 hours ago
  • Mavs' deal with Nowitzki $50M, not $40M

    Mavs' deal with Nowitzki $50M, not $40M

    Dirk Nowitzki has signed his contract with Dallas, and a person with knowledge of the deal says it's worth more than the original agreement. The 38-year-old star who has spent all 18 of his seasons with the Mavericks signed a two-year, $50 million … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 hours ago
  • Blazers sign McCollum to $106M extension

    The extension, which takes effect after the upcoming season, will keep McCollum in Portland through the 2020-21 season. McCollum posted a photo of the signing on Instagram. ''I'm ecstatic to be able to extend my career in Portland and grateful for … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 hours ago