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Nets allow season-worst 82 points in paint in blowout loss to Pascal Siakam, Indiana Pacers

Cam Thomas questioned the Nets‘ effort ahead of Saturday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, and the team responded with intent, physicality and shot making for about 30 minutes.

But their inability to keep Indiana off the glass — and out of their pockets — ultimately led to their second-straight loss, 121-100, on this current six-game road trip.

“We played for a half, now. A half was good,” interim head coach Kevin Ollie said. “But it has to be 48 minutes. It can’t be one half.”

The Pacers had 30 second-chance points, 30 points off of Brooklyn’s 21 turnovers and had 82 points in the paint, the most surrendered this season. Indiana shot 47.6% for the game despite going 6-of-30 from 3-point range.

“We’re not the biggest team but you can’t measure heart, though,” Ollie said. “And we have to have heart and we have to have toughness because we’re not the biggest team. We don’t have these big 7-footers.

Thomas led the Nets, who shot 42.9%, with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting. And it was another rough scoring night for Mikal Bridges, who had just seven points on a 1-of-8 clip. As he goes, so does Brooklyn. Bridges is averaging just 13 points while shooting 29.6% from the field and 24% from deep over the team’s last seven losses.

Pascal Siakam led Indiana with 28 points and 11 rebounds. First-time All-Star selection Tyrese Haliburton, who did most of his damage over the final two quarters after going 1-of-9 in the first half, added 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

The Nets fell to 26-41 this season in Saturday’s defeat and are 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Brooklyn’s next loss would secure their first losing season since 2019-20, a season former franchise cornerstone Kevin Durant missed due to his Achilles injury.

Indiana had 28 more shot attempts than the Nets in their 38th victory of the season. They outscored the visitors, 56-43, in the second half.

Brooklyn will conclude its current road trip Sunday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

“We get another shot tomorrow to try and go figure it out,” Ollie said. “That’s the process I’m going to keep having. I’m going to be positive. I’m going to continue to serve my energy to these guys. I’m going to continue to try and have them focused and we have to follow the game plan.”