Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 24, 2013

Stephenson, George lead Pacers to rout of Nets

NEW YORK (AP) — Lance Stephenson gave the home fans something to cheer, and that hasn't happened often in Brooklyn this season.

And the way the Nets are going, it may not happen many more times.

"I think it's getting very close to just accepting losing," coach Jason Kidd said.

Stephenson scored a career-high 26 points in his hometown, Paul George also had 26, and the Indiana Pacers went on to their third straight easy victory, 103-86 over the Nets on Monday night.

Stephenson, who recorded his NBA-leading third triple-double of the season Sunday in a rout of Boston, did most of his damage as a scorer, back where he did plenty of it in high school. He became the career scoring leader in New York state, with nearly 3,000 points at Abraham Lincoln High School.

Dozens of fans saluted him as he exited the court through the tunnel, and Stephenson, unable to hide his grin afterward, figures he knew most of them.

"I just was very motivated and hyped for this game. I couldn't sleep at night. I'm just happy we got the W," said Stephenson, who coach Frank Vogel said should be the leading choice for the Most Improved Player award that George won last season.

David West finished with 13 points for the Pacers, who pulled away in the third period, when Paul Pierce was ejected for a flagrant foul in only the second scoreless game of his career.

Indiana followed its only losing streak of the season by beating Houston and Boston by a combined 60 points, then blew this one open after a competitive first half.

"Lance Stephenson and Paul George just keep putting in special performances and they're really giving us a big lift," Vogel said.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Nets, who lost their third straight. Kevin Garnett, moving to the center spot after Brook Lopez was lost to a broken right foot, had 12.

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