INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo credits solid defense for the Indiana Pacers’ strong offensive production.
“I think defensively we were really good (and) I think that’s why we were effective offensively,” Oladipo said after scoring 25 points with seven rebounds and leading Indiana to a 132-112 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
“When we play at a high level defensively, we give ourselves a great chance to win,” Oladipo said. “We have to build on it. We just have to keep getting better. If we do that and continue to keep growing, continue to keep playing with confidence on good days and bad days, the sky’s the limit for us.”
Kyle O’Quinn came off the bench and scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Bojan Bogdanovic and Tyreke Evans each scored 15 points for the Pacers, who bounced back following a 118-101 loss at Milwaukee on Friday, the first of a back-to-back.
Indiana forced Brooklyn into 20 turnovers, committed 11 of their own and outscored the Nets 30-12 in points off turnovers.
“We got stops tonight,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought our defense was good. They made some tough 3s in that first half. We made them work for those shots in the first half and we felt like if we continued to work like that, that eventually they would break. In the second half, we kind of wore them down and they started to miss those same shots that they were making. You have to force misses in order to get out and play your pace.”
Joe Harris and Caris LeVert each scored 19 points for the Nets, who have lost seven straight at Indiana.
The Pacers used a quick 13-0 spurt in the fourth quarter to pull away.
O’Quinn scored back-to-back baskets, Oladipo made a 3-pointer, and Evans scored twice, including a layup, to give the Pacers a 122-99 lead with 6:01 remaining.
“We made some mistakes defensively and we allowed them to start getting downhill,” Harris said. “Kyle O’Quinn had a big fourth quarter. Oladipo hurt us most of the game, but had a good fourth quarter, as well. We have to clean up a lot of stuff on the defensive end, especially doing it consistently for four quarters.”
The Pacers went on a 14-3 run to close out the first half and led 67-58 at halftime.
The Pacers led by as many as eight points in the first quarter after scoring eight straight with two jumpers by Cory Joseph, a 3-pointer by Oladipo and a free throw by Evans that made it 33-25 with 44.5 seconds remaining in the period.
Spencer Dinwiddie and Robions Kurucs had layups to make it 33-29 at the end of the first quarter.
Nets: Kurucs needed assistance going to the locker room after injuring his left ankle with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter. . F Treveon Graham, who strained his left hamstring in Friday’s 107-105 win over the New York Knicks, was out. . G Shabazz Napier (right hamstring sprain), and forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (personal reasons), DeMarre Carroll (right ankle arthroscopy) and Alan Williams (right ankle sprain) were out against the Pacers.
Pacers: O’Quinn also had eight rebounds and two blocked shots. . F Domantas Sabonis was out with a bruised right knee and F TJ Leaf was out with a sprained left ankle.
A HABIT OF STEALING
Oladipo finished with four steals after not getting any in the first two games of the regular season. When he didn’t record a steal in Indiana’s regular-season opener against Memphis, Oladipo’s streak of 64 straight games with at least one steal came to an end. Oladipo led the league with 177 steals and 2.4 per game in the 2017-18 regular season.
The Nets shot 43.2 percent (16 of 37) from 3-point range and made six 3s in the second quarter to regain the lead briefly when D’Angelo Russell made one to put Brooklyn ahead 56-53 with 4:07 remaining in the first half. The Pacers shot 66.7 percent (16 of 24) from 3 and made five in the fourth quarter to help put the game away.
Nets: At Cleveland on Wednesday for the second of three road games.
Pacers: At Minnesota on Monday for the first of three straight games on the road.
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