But for a couple of crucial no-calls deemed incorrect, the Brooklyn Nets on Friday would be facing an Indiana Pacers team on a 9-game winning streak.
The Brooklyn Nets carry the NBA’s longest active winning streak, seven consecutive victories, into their matchup Friday at Barclays Center against the Indiana Pacers.
But for a couple of calls the NBA admitted it missed, however, it could easily be Indiana riding a nine-game winning streak into Brooklyn.
The Pacers (20-12) had run off seven consecutive wins before a 92-91 loss at home to the Cleveland cavaliers on Tuesday and followed that up with a 99-96 loss on the road to the Toronto Raptors.
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The NBA acknowledged after each of those losses that the Pacers were victimized by incorrect no-calls late in each game, per the Indianapolis Star.
In the loss to the Cavaliers, Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. committed a loose ball foul, tossing Indiana’s Victor Oladipo out of the way, before tipping in the game-winning shot off an offensive rebound.
So it’s quite possible the Pacers will be a bit salty when the come in to face the Nets (15-18), whose current run of seven straight wins in the longest for the team in the Brooklyn era.
The Nets come off a performance against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night that, while far from being an aesthetic masterpiece, might have been the most important win during their streak.
The Bulls successfully slowed the pace of the game to molasses coming out of a bottle outdoors in mid-January in Antarctica, but the Nets fought through the lack of offensive flow to make big plays when they had to.
Joe Harris had two huge baskets in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead floater off the backboard with 43 seconds left, and Spencer Dinwiddie made a game-saving defensive play, stealing the ball from Justin Holiday as he was handing it off to Kris Dunn.
Harris pounced on the loose ball and the Nets hung on for the win. That came after Dinwiddie created a chance for Chicago to take the lead by losing track of the shot clock on the previous possession. Sometimes redemption can come at you fast, too.
The Nets have lost eight straight to the Pacers dating back to Nov. 25, 2016, including a 132-122 pounding at Indianapolis on Oct. 20.
So this is a litmus test of sorts for Brooklyn, an opportunity to measure its improvement against an Indiana team that has had its number for a couple of years now.
The Nets have already ruled out guard Allen Crabbe for a fifth straight game because of a sore right knee and rookie Dzanan Musa for a third consecutive contest with a partially dislocated left shoulder.
Treveon Graham (strained left hamstring) and Caris LeVert (dislocated right foot) remain out, as well. There is no timetable for the return of either player, though Graham is reportedly getting closer, as he practiced with the team’s G League affiliate in Long Island last weekend.
For the Pacers, reserve wing Tyreke Evans is questionable with a bruised right knee that sidelined him Sunday against the New York Knicks. After averaging 22.3 minutes a game in his first 26 games, Evans has played just 15.3 a night over his last four appearances.
Here are three things to watch as the Nets tangle with the Pacers at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.