In addition to the 22 rebounds he grabbed in 43 minutes tonight, Reggie Evans scored eight points. Yep, he had a pretty good game
Needing a win in the most desperate way possible, the Nets went into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis tonight and fended off, in overtime, an Indiana Pacers team that had only lost four other games at home so far this season. Both teams were missing one of their top players (Danny Granger for the Pacers and Deron Wlliams for the Nets) which led to a low-scoring and slowly-paced affair.
Like they did last night at home against the Spurs, the Nets started the game off hot, going up by a score of 20-13 after the first quarter. Brook Lopez put his imprint on the contest early on, scoring 10 points in the first 12 minutes en route to the 25 points he would score on the game. However, the next quarter wouldn't be nearly as good for Brooklyn as the first.
Indiana, taking advantage of yet another lackluster Brooklyn bench performance, won the second period 27-15 and took a five-point lead heading into the half. Reserve power forward Jeff Pendergraph greatly helped the Pacers gain that advantage by scoring 10 points of his own in the second, constituting a season-high. Accentuated by a Paul George three-pointer with just a few seconds left, the second quarter appeared to be the Nets' downfall yet again.
The second half treated the Nets a little better tonight than it did last night. After a probably halftime chewing-out by coach P.J. Carlesimo, Brooklyn came out with a purpose in the third, feeding Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson at will on the offensive end to great success. Reversely, the fourth quarter was mostly won by the Pacers, who burst through to seize the Nets lead with a 7-0 run spanning from 3:31 remaining in the fourth to 1:02 remaining.
That streak almost instantly changed the game's standing from 72-69 Nets to 76-72 Pacers. Then, down the stretch, Brooklyn's defense kicked it into high gear, shutting Indiana down for regulation's last minute, giving Joe Johnson to hit a game-tying, ovetime-sending runner with just 13 seconds left. Once again, Iso-Joe saved the Nets' butts, giving them a new lease on the game.
The overtime period was highlighted by huge shots by some of the Nets that aren't necessarily most expected to score. Tyshawn Taylor started the festivities with a sick fadeaway 20-footer only to follow it up with a nearly no-look scoop lay-in that looked like it had no physical way to go in the hoop. On the next play, Gerald Wallace actually hit an open corner three and after that, Reggie Evans knocked a tip-in that basically iced the game. A few Joe Johnson free throws later and the game was finalized. Huge win for a previously-struggling Nets squad.
Some other observations I had from the game: Once again, Player-of-the-Game goes to Brook Lopez, who scored 25 points on 8-19 shooting with eight boards. Brook, who also hit all nine of his free throws, has been on fire lately on both offense and defense and is clearly playing his best ball right before the All-Star Game. Lopez also managed to hold Roy Hibbert to just 12 points on 5-18 shooting. For someone that's 7-2 like Hibbert, it takes a massive defensive effort to contain him, and Brook clearly gave that tonight.....Tyshawn Taylor, Gerald Wallace, and Reggie Evans all share the Nets Second-Best Player of the Game Award. With D-Will out and C.J. Watson highly ineffective (0-7 from the field), Taylor finally got the playing time I'm sure he was begging for and he didn't disappoint, scoring 12 points in 34 minutes. In addition to the crazy shots he hit in OT, Tyshawn looked really comfortable on the floor in leading the Nets down the stretch in a tight, crucial game. Looks like he really turned a corner. Gerald had a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing as many rebounds. He played lock-down D on the Pacers' forwards that shut both Paul George (1-10 from the field) and David West (2-11) completely. Wallace also, finally, hit some three-pointers, the same shots he has missed for what seems like an eternity. Also, as I mentioned above, Reggie was a monster down low, grabbing every board he wanted and adding some points to boot......Nine points from MarShon Brooks in limited time. He also looks to be regaining his last-season form a bit.
The Nets head back to the Barclays Center to take on the hot Denver Nuggets in both team's last games before the All-Star break.