BROOKLYN—Life without Brook Lopez began Monday night for the Brooklyn Nets and it was painfully predictable.
Without Lopez, who suffered a season-ending broken bone in his right foot Friday night, the Nets hung tough with the Indiana Pacers for one half. But then the league’s best defensive team squeezed the resolve out of the Nets, claiming a 103-86 win.
The game was over for all intent with 4:22 left in the third quarter and the Pacers leading, 66-47. Veteran Paul Pierce was ejected for a flagrant foul on Indiana’s George Hill.
Either Pierce’s frustration gasket had blown or he was trying to send a message that the season didn’t end with the disheartening diagnosis that Lopez had fractured the fifth metatarsal for third time in his career.
It was Pierce who said Friday night that the Nets were bottom feeders after a 121-120 loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia. That was the last time Nets fans will see Lopez in a Brooklyn jersey this season.
The Nets (9-18) had routed the 76ers 130-94 last Monday night, when this season was finally taking on real hope. Without Lopez, this loss looked like so many of the 17 others:
The Nets got outrebounded, 46-35. They gave up 34 points in the paint, all though in this night, they scored 34 inside. And the there was the third quarter collapse in which the Pacers (23-5) outscored the Nets 30-19.
NOTES: Jason Terry returned after a 15-game absence (knee). Her scored 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting on 3’s.