NEW YORK (AP) — Jeremy Lin fell just short of a triple-double, though there was a 10th assist after the buzzer.
The point guard tracked down the game ball and gave it to Kenny Atkinson, who got his first win as an NBA coach not far from where he grew up.
“Pretty special,” Atkinson said, his eyes welling up a bit.
Lin had 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in his Nets home debut, Brook Lopez scored 25 and Brooklyn beat the Indiana Pacers 103-94 on Friday night.
Lin drew some delirious cheers the way he briefly did during his run of Linsanity last time he played in New York, with the Knicks in 2012.
Atkinson was the assistant coach who worked closely with him on that team, and Lin’s first thought was of the Northport native when the buzzer sounded.
“This is his and he deserves it, and I better not see him play with that ball or whatever,” Lin said. “He better get that framed and make sure he knows.”
Sean Kilpatrick hit consecutive 3-pointers during the decisive fourth-quarter surge and finished with 18 points for the Nets, who lost to Boston in their opener.
Paul George had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who were outscored 31-15 in the fourth quarter.
The Nets opened their fifth season in Brooklyn by improving to 4-1 in home openers, an immediate highlight in a rebuilding season where there aren’t expected to be many of them.
“They brought the fight to us,” George said. “We knew coming in that this team necessarily (did not have) have the names but they play hard and they play together.”
The Pacers, who opened with a 130-121 overtime victory over Dallas, surged into the lead with a 31-point third quarter.
But the Nets answered with a run early in the fourth, then took control after George’s basket tied it at 85 midway through the period.
Justin Hamilton’s three-point play snapped the tie and Kilpatrick followed with consecutive 3-pointers to put the Nets up 94-85 with about 4 minutes left. Lin closed it out down the stretch with some free throws and a basket in the lane.
“I thought Brooklyn came out and played harder than we did,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.
Pacers: Myles Turner, who had 30 points and 16 rebounds in the opener, finished with 13 points and 11 boards. … G Aaron Brooks missed the game with a sore right knee.
Nets: Lopez played in his 489th game, tying Richard Jefferson for seventh on the Nets’ career list. Next up is Kerry Kittles at 496. … Herb Turetzky began his 50th season as the Nets’ official scorer. They acknowledged him during a first-quarter timeout.
The Nets improved to 3-3 against the Pacers in home openers. The Pacers’ six visits tied them with Atlanta for the most frequent home-opening opponent.
Thaddeus Young scored 19 points. He spent 1 1/2 seasons in Brooklyn and was told last spring by general manager Sean Marks that he wouldn’t be traded. Then he was dealt, getting dealt to Indiana for the rights to first-round pick Caris LeVert. He wasn’t disappointed by the deal, even though he’s still trying to sell his home in Brooklyn. “I think the farther we got into the summer, I think they realized that there wasn’t any use in just holding me or continuing to keep me here if I’m trying to be in situations where I’m trying to win,” Young said.
HOME SWEET HOME
Kilpatrick, a Yonkers, New York native, has scored in double figures in 21 of his 25 games as a Net. He is 20-for-40 from 3-point range in nine career home games at Barclays Center.
Pacers: Visit Chicago on Saturday. The Pacers have lost their last three trips to the United Center.
Nets: Visit Milwaukee on Saturday, facing former franchise star and later coach Jason Kidd, who left Brooklyn in 2014 after one year to coach the Bucks.