NEW YORK — For three quarters, the Brooklyn Nets were letting the Indiana Pacers get anything they wanted offensively.
Then the effort made an appearance on both ends in the final 12 minutes.
Brook Lopez scored 14 of his 23 points during the fourth quarter and came up with a key defensive stop on Paul George as the Nets rallied for a 120-110 victory over the Pacers on Saturday night.
Lopez shot 2-of-9 from the floor and was a minus-6 when the Pacers led by 14 early in the second quarter, shot nearly 57 percent and held a 93-85 lead through the first 36 minutes.
In the final 12 minutes, Lopez made 5-of-7 shots and the Nets outscored the Pacers 35-17. Brooklyn also held Indiana to 3-of-17 from the floor during the fourth, two nights after holding Cleveland to 4-of-21 in the final quarter.
“We felt our offense was fine through really all three quarters but our defense wasn’t really there and that changed in the fourth quarter,” Lopez said.
“Our offense would have been nothing if we didn’t get those stops down the stretch. We started getting stops for the most part we took away their offensive rebounds and we got over the hump.”
Lopez missed his first two shots of the fourth quarter and the Nets trailed by 10 with about 9 1/2 minutes remaining. He helped chip away at the deficit with a short jumper and two foul shots before hitting a hook shot at the 5:06 mark for a 106-102 lead.
“Shots were just falling,” Lopez said. “It didn’t happen for the first three quarters but I tried to stay aggressive, stay confident (and) make plays elsewhere.”
Lopez added three more baskets, including two hook shots that gave the Nets a 113-110 lead with 2:42 remaining. Lopez’s final two baskets came after he rotated to the 3-point line and contested a 3-pointer by George with 2:59 left.
“We have to be there to help the helper,” Lopez said. “I saw my man was down. I knew I had to get out there and we did a great job of that in the fourth quarter.”
Lopez then made one more big play, kicking it out to Bojan Bogdanovic after attempting to post up Ian Mahinmi.
Bogdanovic made it 116-110 by hitting a left wing 3-pointer with 38.7 seconds left, nailing the shot as George Hill jumped and George was late to defend
George’s miss was the first of six straight misses for Indiana to close the game. He led the Pacers with 27 points but shot 8-of-21 and missed seven straight shots until scoring 12 in the third to help Indiana get to the verge of pulling away.
“We just allowed (Lopez) to play one-on-one ball and he’s seen one layup go in, and he got real crafty down there,” George said. “He’s an All-Star so he knows how to score one on one.”
Being unable to stop Lopez in the fourth and get any offense going, led to Indiana (38-35) allowing 120 points for the sixth time this season.
The Pacers also committed six of their 20 turnovers during the fourth.
“We turned the ball over too much,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “We fouled like crazy and we didn’t control Lopez neither one-on-one nor with double teams. They ramped up their energy and we didn’t handle it.”
While Lopez had a big role in the fourth, others contributed in Brooklyn’s second straight win over a playoff team. Bogdanovic added 18 points, Segery Karasev contributed a career-high 17 while Larkin and Sean Kilpatrick each added 14.
“We played our (butt) off,” Karasev said. “We played like a team today.”
Mahinmi added 18 and George Hill contributed 17 for the Pacers, who scored 44 points and shot 36 percent after taking a 66-60 halftime lead.
“They came out and played hard but it’s a bad loss,” George said.”
NOTES: Pacers F Paul George was listed as questionable because of a lower right leg contusion but did not miss his first game of the season. Afterward, George said he felt fine physically: “It felt all right,” he said. “At this point in the season, there’s no time to sit out games. You play through that stuff.” He tested it in pregame shooting about an hour before tipoff. Indiana coach Frank Vogel said George reported soreness on Saturday morning, but pointed out it was different walking around a hotel room than running on the court. … F Solomon Hill would have started had George not played. He also started Jan. 22 at Golden State and March 4 at Charlotte … Asked if anyone was being rested, Brown quipped “me” before saying no one was sitting out the game. … Nets C Brook Lopez recorded his 40th game with at least 20 points. His most 20-point games occurred during the 2010-11 season when he had 45.