NEW YORK (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, reaching 20,000 for his career, to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 105-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
James Harden broke out of an early season slump with 29 points and Kevin Durant added 22 as the Nets evened their record at 3-3.
“Solid win,” Durant said, later adding the Nets “did a good job of fighting back.”
Aldridge became the 48th player in league history and the seventh active player to score 20,000 points.
“He has scorer’s instincts,” Durant said. “(It’s a) huge accomplishment. …(A) huge milestone.”
Indiana dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-4 on the road despite 28 points from Torrey Craig. Chris Duarte added 19, Domantas Sabonis contributed 16 and Jeremy Lamb chipped in with 12.
“We’ve just got to stay in the fight,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We have plenty to win games right now. We’re just going to have to be very much on point. The margins are very slim and we’re (going) to have to stick together and play together.”
The Nets started slowly against a Pacers team that was playing without Isaiah Jackson (hyperextended right knee) and former Net Caris LeVert (stress fracture in his lower back) and trailed by 16 after Craig knocked down an 11-foot jumper with 9:17 left in the second quarter. But Brooklyn finished the quarter with a 28-9 run to lead 58-55 at halftime. Harden scored 13 points in that stretch.
By the end of the third quarter, the advantage was stretched to 85-74, with Durant playing with a key role. Even though he only scored four points in the third, he grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists, as well as seemingly being everywhere on the court. The beneficiary was Aldridge, who scored eight points on mostly mid-range jumpers.
“I was trying to make some stuff happen,” Durant said.
And yet, the Nets found themselves unable to pull away from the depleted Pacers, who drew even at 90-all after Sabonis made a free throw with 5:15 left the fourth. That was as close as Indiana would get, as Brooklyn’s triumvirate of stars would either score on assist on the Nets’ final 15 points.
“All you can ask is for us to give ourselves a chance to win,” Craig said. “I think we did that tonight. I think we competed for most of the game.”