Coming back home for a night didn't help get the Nets back into the win column as they lost in Newark 102-98 to the Indiana Pacers Monday night. New Jersey has now lost four straight after winning five in a row.
The Nets were up by 12 with just over four minutes remaining, but the Pacers finished strong down the stretch and were only down 44-40 at the half. Indiana opened the third quarter with a 9-0 and outscored New Jersey by 12 in the quarter.
Indiana seemed to have the game well in hand after a traditional three point play by Darren Collison put the visitors up by 11 with 2:24 remaining, but the Nets had some fight left in them. After both sides traded baskets and foul shots, Sasha Vujacic hit an off balance three (even though his foot was well over the line) to pull New Jersey within four.
A solid defensive trip produced a Pacer foul that put Sundiata Gaines on the line following a collision with Josh McRoberts. Gaines hit one-of-two to cut the Indiana lead to three. New Jersey got another stop at the other end, but couldn't capitalize as both Gaines and Vujacic missed shots beyond the arc that would have tied the game.
Four Collison free throws in the final nine seconds were split by a Gaines three to produce the final score.
Brook Lopez once again led the Nets with 20 points, though he only pulled down four rebounds. Gaines had a career-high 18 while Vujacic and Jordan Farmar both added 14.
Roy Hibbert scored 24 point for the Pacers on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor. Danny Granger poured in 20 and Collison finished with 15 to go along with a game-high 12 assists.
The Nets have now lost seven straight against the Pacers, including three meetings this season and five straight in New Jersey.
Next up for Avery Johnson's crew is a three-game road trip that kicks off Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The New Jersey Nets look to get back on the winning track Monday night when they welcome the Indiana Pacers to the Prudential Center in Newark. Following a season-high five game winning streak, the Nets have lost three straight, including a 98-92 setback to the Washington Wizards.
Lopez led the way for the Nets in defeat with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Morrow added 19 and Kris Humphries delivered another double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
New Jersey was without the services of Deron Williams, who will miss at least two more games due to injuries to both wrists. Jordan Farmar started in his place and handed out a career-high 17 assists while scoring 10 points.
The Pacers have gone just 3-7 over their last 10 games, but Indiana still holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers will try to rebound from a 99-78 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Danny Granger and Darren Collison each scored 17 for the Pacers, while Tyler Hansbrough added 14.
In addition to Williams, New Jersey will be without the services of rookie Damion James. He is experiencing pain in his surgically repaired foot and will be out at least two games.
The Nets have lost six straight to the Pacers, including two games this season and four straight in New Jersey.
After their one-game stay at home, the Nets head back out on the road, kicking off a three-game road trip Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.