The Indiana Pacers had the weekend to think about what went wrong in a rare home loss to the Toronto Raptors Friday night.
In order to avoid dropping back-to-back games at home for the first time in a year, the Pacers will have to tighten up some areas with the Brooklyn Nets scheduled to visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse Monday.
The Raptors outlasted Indiana, 100-98, in overtime and halted the hosts 15- game home winning streak in the process. The game was tight throughout until Toronto stepped up its defense for a 26-18 advantage in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime. The Raptors outscored the Pacers, 10-8, in OT.
Indiana was coming off three games in as many days, winning all three, and completed a fourth game in five opportunities.
"We're pretty fatigued. I felt like today was the toughest day of this whole stretch, even through the back-to-back-to-back," Pacers All-Star forward Paul George said. "I just think it set in before the game."
Sloppy play as evidenced by 19 turnovers played a role for Indiana, which had won five in a row overall and started a five-game homestand on the wrong foot. The Pacers are still a dominant 20-4 as the host this season and haven't suffered two straight defeats in Indy since last Feb. 11-14.
Also slated to visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the residency are the Bobcats, Knicks and Pistons. In injury news for Indiana, forward Sam Young missed Friday's game with the flu and is questionable versus the Nets.
Brooklyn is coming off a Jekyll and Hyde-type loss to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night in which it built an early lead, then collapsed completely in the second half.
The Nets had a 35-25 advantage after the first quarter and headed to the break with a 57-51 edge. Then the floor dropped as the Spurs scored 30 points in each of the last two periods and held Brooklyn to 29 points over the last 24 minutes.
"Offensively, the push wasn't there in the second half," said Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who is 15-8 at the helm. "A lot of the things that we did well, we stopped doing. We got very careless with the ball, turning it over, getting stripped, not finishing."
Joe Johnson scored 19 points, Brook Lopez had 18 with nine rebounds and Deron Williams ended with 15 points for the Nets, who have lost two straight and six of their last nine games. Lopez, meanwhile, has scored in double figures in 27 straight games and was named to his first ever All-Star Game after Celtics guard Rajon Rondo went down with a torn ACL.
If Brooklyn, which is 11-12 on the road, can keep the Pacers under 90 points, it will improve to 18-1 this season. Despite their last performance, the Nets are one of the top defensive teams in the league, allowing 94.6 ppg. The Pacers are second in the NBA on defense (90.2 ppg) and first in opposing field goal percentage (0.419). Opponents are shooting an NBA-low 0.325 from 3-point range against Indiana.
The Nets recently defeated the Pacers, 97-86, on Jan. 13 at Barclays Center, but have still suffered defeat in 13 of the past 16 matchups in this series. The Nets haven't fared too well at Indy lately, losing five in a row and eight of the previous nine contests there.