INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - In one week, the Indiana Pacers have developed something they’ve been searching for all season - consistency.
Jeff Teague had 21 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds, and Myles Turner finished with 25 points and 15 boards as the Pacers beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-109 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.
The winning streak began last Friday, when Indiana knocked off Central Division-rival Chicago. In each of the three games since, the Pacers have won by double digits.
Through the first 33 games of the season, Indiana won consecutive games only four times.
“I think we’re figuring it out right now,” Teague said. “I think we know what we want to do. I think we’re playing together. It just becomes contagious.”
With the halfway point of the long season just four games away, the Pacers realize the magnitude of finding their identity and, most of all, solidifying their team chemistry in hopes of setting up a strong second half.
“It’s huge. We lost four in a row, so to win four in a row is huge for us,” Turner said. “We’ve just got to keep the ball rolling and keep the positive momentum going.”
Paul George scored 26 points and Thaddeus Young added 10 points and six rebounds for Indiana.
The Pacers put their foot down in the third quarter and broke the game open. Indiana (19-18) held a 66-59 lead when it went on an 18-4 spurt that opened a 21-point lead.
The Nets clawed their way back, pulling within eight with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Indiana then stretched its advantage back to double digits.
Trevor Booker and Justin Hamilton had 16 points apiece for the Nets (8-26), who fell to 1-17 on the road. Sean Kilpatrick and Sean Dinwiddie each scored 13.
Brooklyn has lost four straight and nine of 11 overall.
Indiana’s largest lead was 22 points. And despite seven-point deficits at the end of the first and second quarters, the Pacers controlled the game most of the way. They led by as many as 13 in the first half, when Teague scored 15 points.
The Pacers outscored Brooklyn 52-30 in the paint even though they were outrebounded 45-44. Indiana had 17 points off 13 Nets turnovers and outscored them 15-4 on fast-break points.
“Our first unit didn’t have great energy and didn’t come out and compete. Obviously, (the Pacers are) on a roll and they’re playing great team basketball,” Brooklyn big man Brook Lopez said. “They are playing well right now and starting to peak at the right time.”
Nets: Brooklyn is 3-14 since Dec. 1, allowing its opponent to score more than 100 points in each loss. … The Nets have dropped four straight at Indiana. … Brooklyn has lost 14 road games in a row.
Pacers: Indiana’s 38 points in the third were a season high for one quarter. … Turner finished one rebound shy of his career high. … Turner had his sixth double-double of the season, while Teague posted his seventh.
START ME UP
Indiana’s five starters combined for 90 points and were plus-159 while they were on the floor. The bench had one of its worst outings all season, combining for just 31 points and finishing at minus-99.
TURNING IT AROUND
After losing four straight games at the end of December, Indiana has strung together a four-game winning streak - and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After the Pacers play the Knicks on Saturday night, they’ll travel to London to play the Nuggets, then return home to face the Pelicans before heading out on a four-game Western Conference road trip.
Nets: Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
Pacers: Host the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
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