INDIANAPOLIS — For better than three quarters Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, their roles were reversed.
The Nets, one of the NBA’s worst teams, was taking it to one of the league’s best in the host Pacers. Brooklyn, dead last in the league in three-point shooting, was drilling them from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Indiana, second-best in long distance, was bricking from deep.
But as has been their Achilles’ heel this season, the Nets failed to put together a complete 48-minute effort. Late miscues resulted in a missed opportunity to steal a quality road win — one this team desperately needs — and it ended up a 104-97 loss to the Pacers.
The Nets led 79-72 early in the fourth after Wayne Ellington went the length of the court and threw down a one-handed dunk. At that point, Brooklyn (7-19) had committed just six turnovers, but the Pacers started clawing back in it.
“We played extremely well for three quarters, executing and getting what we wanted,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “I thought, in the fourth quarter, we got into stagnation, isolation and turned the ball over.”
Indiana (16-9) put together a 17-6 run spurred by — not superstar and MVP candidate Paul George — but center Jordan Hill. He played the entire quarter, scoring 10 of his 14 points to go with 11 rebounds.
With the Nets keying on George late (23 points, 10 rebounds), guard Monta Ellis used his quickness to penetrate and kick to Hill and the rest of the Pacers shooters for open looks.
The Nets did themselves no favors, with six turnovers down the stretch, many of them unforced. With Brooklyn trailing 91-86 with 5:30 remaining, Jarrett Jack (game-high 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists with three turnovers) sailed a pass to the other side of the court, where the closest person to it was a fan in the front row. Ellis made them pay, finding Hill on a cutting layup. With 2:50 left and the Nets trailing 98-90, it was Joe Johnson throwing the ball away and Hill following with a dunk on an assist from George.
“We committed a lot of unforced turnovers,” said Nets center Brook Lopez, who played with five fouls late to finish with 18 points and five rebounds. “I think there were times when we were looking to move the ball, it just didn’t happen the way we envisioned it. People were on a different page.”
Brooklyn shot well for most of the game, hitting 42 percent from the field — including 8-for-16 from three — and went 17-for-17 from the foul line.
The Pacers hit just 7-for-28 (25 percent) from deep. But when it mattered in the fourth, Indiana shot better than 50 percent to outscore Brooklyn 32-20.
The loss dropped the Nets to 1-12 on the road.
“We just want to get consistent,” Lopez said. “We’re not going to quit. We know we have to keep working. We see ourselves doing great things at times, but it’s a 48-minute game and it’s a lot of the same stuff.”
Notes & quotes: Thaddeus Young recorded his 13th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds. It was his 12th in the past 17 games. Young had three all of last season . . . Thomas Robinson (illness) did not travel with the team . . . Shane Larkin (concussion) also stayed behind. Former Pacer Donald Sloan played his most minutes of the season in place of Larkin, finishing with six points, six rebounds and three assists.