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Pacers improve to 7-0 start

Updated: 2013-11-11 08:11
By Associated Press in New York ( China Daily)

Indiana holds off late charge from Nets to claim 96-91 win

Falling a game short of the NBA Finals last season, the clear goal for the Indiana Pacers is the No 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the home-court advantage that comes with it.

Keep this up, and they will have the best record in the whole league.

Paul George scored 24 points and the Pacers improved the NBA's only undefeated record and the best start in franchise history to 7-0 by beating the Brooklyn Nets 96-91 on Saturday night.

David West added 18 points and hit the clinching free throws for the Pacers, who won their first six games in 1970-71, when they played in the ABA. They have the longest winning streak to open an NBA season since the Lakers and New Orleans were 8-0 in 2010-11, according to STATS.

"I really don't get too caught up in the historical value of it, other than we're ahead of the race," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We're trying to get the one seed to put ourselves in the position come playoff time with the best chance to come out of the East."

Roy Hibbert finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson also scored 15 points.

"We executed. That's the maturity of this team," George said. "Years ago we would have lost that game. We would have lost this game tonight just on not making shots and not executing and getting guys in spots to be aggressive at. But we are growing as a team. We are getting mature and we are finding ways to win games."

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each had 17 points for the Nets, who fell to 2-4 and lost at home for the first time this season. Brook Lopez scored 16 and Paul Pierce had 15.

"We are just learning to play together. We didn't have everybody healthy for training camp and we're all coming together and trying to win a championship and it doesn't happen overnight," said Williams, who added 10 assists but had a costly late turnover and committed what he called a "stupid" foul on George Hill's 3-point attempt down the stretch.

"We're not panicking, we know it's going to come together, we're confident that we can overcome these little struggles and we're going to stay together no matter what's happening on the outside."

Vogel said the Pacers have made winning the East their priority after they lost Game 7 of the East Finals on the road in Miami. The quick start has them well on their way.

"We're just going out, playing the game," George said. "We feel very prepped for the game. Everybody is dialed in. We're not worried about keeping the streak alive, we're just worried about going out there and playing our hardest and winning a ballgame."

Indiana has now beaten Chicago and Brooklyn, two of the top teams in the East, over the past week.

 Pacers improve to 7-0 start

Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche scores against Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the third quarter of their game on Saturday at the Barclays Center in New York. The unbeaten Pacers defeated the Nets 96-91. John Minchillo / Associated Press

(China Daily 11/11/2013 page23)

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