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Gerald Wallace limited All-Star Paul George to five points on Feb. 11.
Current Seed: 3
Regular Season Series: Nets 2-0
Key Matchup to Watch: Brook Lopez vs. Roy Hibbert
It’s not often two talented seven-foot centers go head-to-head. Hibbert, who is actually 7’2”, will seek revenge against Lopez and the Nets who bested his Indiana Pacers twice this season.
Lopez outplayed Hibbert in both games, accounting for a combined 40 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks.
The two will get another chance to do battle before the postseason on April 12.
X-Factor: Gerald Wallace
The two games the Nets and Pacers have played this season have been ugly defensive struggles. That’s exactly the type of game in which small forward Gerald Wallace thrives.
In the Nets' 89-84 win over the Pacers on Feb. 11, Wallace stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists. He also committed five fouls while limiting All-Star Paul George to five points in 39 minutes.
The Nets need Wallace to do the dirty work, especially against a team like Indiana that’s big, nasty and physical.
Best Strategy for the Nets:
The Nets and Pacers aren’t going to surprise each other. They’re two hard-nosed teams that play suffocating defense and wear their opponents down.
As long as Brooklyn keeps the games close going into the fourth quarter, they’ll be in a great position to get results.
Brooklyn must also capitalize on the advantage they have at point guard. George Hill is serviceable and a tough defender, but Deron Williams is one of the top point guards in the NBA. He’ll have to carry the scoring load, especially with Joe Johnson hobbled.
Concerns for Nets:
The concern for the Nets is the health of Johnson. Johnson scored a combined 37 points in the two Nets’ wins. If his minutes are limited, where will the scoring come from?
This is a big question for the Nets entering the playoffs, particularly against great defensive units like Indiana and Chicago.