The Brooklyn Nets’ season has fallen to a new low in a 125-116 home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday (all times AEDT).
It marked Brooklyn’s fourth-straight loss to drop to 1-5 – the franchise’s worst start since 2015 – as the team was met with boos from the home fans.
The Nets’ defence was again a massive issue – going into the game ranked 29th in the league (120.2) – getting out-rebounded 53-34 including giving up 16 offensive boards to the Pacers and allow the visitors ample second-chance opportunities.
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It included Indiana drilling a hyper efficient 24-of-46 three-pointers led by a 32-point explosion from rookie Bennedict Mathurin, while Tyrese Haliburton added 26 points -to go with eight assists.
Perhaps most alarmingly, it came on the second end of a back-to-back for Indiana as it improved to 3-4.
For the Nets, Kyrie Irving posted a game-high 35 points, Kevin Durant added 26 points with five blocks and Ben Simmons had nine points, eight rebounds and nine assists, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Durant looked visibly frustrated throughout stages of the fourth quarter including slamming the scorer’s table with around four minutes left in the game before immediately departing to the locker room after the final buzzer.
Simmons revealed post-match that the Nets held a players only “honest” meeting, and was confident they could yet bounce back and be the best team in the league.
“For sure. F*** yeah. I believe it. I believe we can be the best team in the NBA. I believe that,” he said.
It came in a contest where the Nets were basically at full strength for the first time this season as Seth Curry returned from injury, while the Pacers had just 11 active players and were missing gun big man Myles Turner.
Indiana surged ahead midway through the third after scoring seven unanswered points via a Buddy Hield triple and consecutive dunks to Isaiah Jackson.
The visitors never looked like losing from that point, with Mathurin’s free throw with 4:04 left in the fourth extending their lead to 118-103.
Brooklyn will look to bounce back when it hosts Indiana again on Tuesday.