Pacers edge Nets
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pacers boosted their bench on Saturday afternoon and bounced back from a rare home loss later that night.
Hours after his club officially signed center Andrew Bynum for the rest of the season, the Pacers' incumbent big man, Roy Hibbert, and fellow All-Star Paul George scored 20 points apiece to send Indiana past the Brooklyn Nets, 97-96.
The Pacers suffered their second home loss of the season on Thursday, falling to the Suns 102-94, but recovered two days later and never trailed in the second half Saturday in sending the Nets to a third straight loss.
They needed to overcome a season-high 24 turnovers and survived Paul Pierce's potential game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
"We gave ourselves a great opportunity to win on the road against the top team in the East," Nets head coach Jason Kidd said. "That's what you ask from your guys. The guys fought and we played a lot better."
Lance Stephenson and David West both filled the box score for a combined 31 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
Shaun Livingston set a season high with 24 points in a losing effort.
The second of two Livingston free throws tied thing at 76-76 early in the fourth quarter, but Indiana scored the next seven points and held on the rest of the way.
A Kevin Garnett tip-in cut Brooklyn's deficit to 91-88 with 1:49 remaining, and Pierce had a chance to tie it the next time down. Pierce, though, missed a 3-point try from the right wing, and West banked in a mid-range jumper at the other end with just under a minute to play.
The Nets' lone All-Star, Joe Johnson, drilled a 3-pointer over Hibbert to trim the margin to 94-93 with 8.5 seconds remaining, and two West free throws gave Brooklyn one final chance.
Pierce again came up empty, however, as his try from the corner was well short to seal Indiana's sweep of the four-game season series.
"It's tough to beat a team four times in one season. With the talent they have, we knew it was going to be very tough,"Indiana head coach Frank Vogel said.
There were nine lead changes and six ties in a tight first half, which ended with the Pacers holding a slim 46-45 lead.
Indiana sprinted out of the break on a 12-2 run to build an 11-point cushion, but the Nets chipped away and pulled within 72-70 leading to the final stanza.
George has already set a career high with 225 free throws made this season ... George Hill scored 10 points for the Pacers, whose starters have scored in double-figures in five of the last seven games ... Johnson added 16 points, Pierce had 15 and Garnett totaled 12 with 10 rebounds ... Brooklyn had been in a 10-1 stretch before its recent skid ... The Nets fell to 2-8 in the second game of a back-to-back set this season ... The Pacers owned a huge 46-27 rebounding advantage.
02/02 02:39:57 ET