Pacers blast past Nets in most lopsided win of the season

“Turn out the lights … the party’s over,” Hall of Famer Slick Leonard said on the Pacers Radio Network with 11:15 to play Friday, as the Pacers had a stranglehold on their home game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The difference was 30 points, and so at that point it was about tracking a number of records posted by the team and individual players. It was that kind of game. It was that kind of opponent in the Nets, who lost their sixth straight game.

At least it was after the first six minutes.

Six minutes into the game, the Nets were on pace for 160 points as they led the Pacers 20-14. But that was a pace they failed to maintain.

[Paul George, Kevin Seraphin to miss at least the next two games]

The Pacers, losers of two straight, got back in the win column with a 118-97 victory, their largest of the season.

“For us, we have to establish who we are,” coach Nate McMillan said postgame. “We need to establish our identity. Tonight, I thought they set the tone.”

The Pacers were without Paul George for the fourth time in five games, and the team announced before the end of the first quarter that he, along with forward Kevin Seraphin, will miss at least the next two games. C.J. Miles, the team’s most effective reserve to this point, continues to be sidelined due to a sore left knee.

With those rotational guys out, it opened up opportunities for players like Glenn Robinson III, who started in place of George and poured in a career high 20 points in 40 minutes. His previous high was 17, set almost a year ago against Milwaukee.

“You just always got to be ready,” Robinson said. “Just going back to last year, watching and talking to Solomon Hill — he’s a big help towards me. When I was out, he always taught me to be ready. Your name is going called, your opportunity is going to be given.”

Having that kind of patience hasn’t come easy to the 22-year-old.

“That’s a big challenge. This is year three for me and this is really the first time that I’ve been getting reasonable, good minutes in this league. Just trusting and believing, and being confident in myself, continuing to work in my game has been huge for me.”

“I thought he played a real solid game,” McMillan said of Robinson III. “I told him [before the game], ‘Let the game come to you’ and I thought he did that.”

The Pacers will lean on Robinson III for more of the same as George remains out.

“He played with confidence,” said starting point guard Jeff Teague. “I think he hit his first shot and that got him going early. When he plays with a lot of confidence like that, he’s a good player.

“That’s my guy right there, the Indiana connection. I always try to pump him up a little bit, get him going, and tell him how good he is and to play with confidence and to believe in himself. Tonight, he went out and did that.

Park Tudor (Ferrell) vs. Pike (Teague). [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Park Tudor (Ferrell) vs. Pike (Teague). [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Teague and Robinson were just two of the four Indiana connections on the floor. Because the Nets were without starting point guard Jeremy Lin (strained left hamstring), that opened up an opportunity to fellow hometown product Yogi Ferrell — who had 10 points and two rebounds in 22 minutes — to play in front of a home crowd. As he checked in, the undrafted free agent received a welcoming, loud applause.

Also of note, one of the three game officials was Tyler Ford, who attended Ball State University and resides in Lafayette, Indiana.

Teague had the favorable matchup and he, too, almost set a career mark. As strange as it may seem, Teague has never recorded a triple-double. But he came close in this one. And if the Pacers needed him to play more than 24 minutes, he surely would’ve had it.

Nine points, a career-high nine rebounds, and eight assists.

“I looked up a couple of times and then I started to get a little thirsty,” Teague said afterwards with a big grin. “I think that’s why I didn’t have one.”

Effort and energy level has been an ongoing issue for this team. One night they’ll have it, the next night they’ll play lethargic. Another night, they may be great at one end but not the other.

The Pacers shot a season-best 55.2 percent and won the rebounding battle for just the fourth time this season. They kept their turnovers to 15, and points in the paint were basically even (38 to 40).

This team is working on its consistency across the board. Friday, they hope, was just the start.

“We’ve been up and down. We have to move forward and build off this game, have intensity on both ends of the floor,” McMillan said.”

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