James Harden, here marked by the Pacers' Domantas Sabonis, was only...

James Harden, here marked by the Pacers' Domantas Sabonis, was only 5-for-11 from the floor but shot 16-for-19 at the free-throw line on the way to 29 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in the Nets' 105-98 victory over Indiana at Barclays Center on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 Credit: Errol Anderson

James Harden snapped out of his early-season funk and looked like his old high-scoring self, and the referees even allowed him to get back to the free-throw line, which he barely had visited in the first five games. Harden scored 29 points, including a 16-for-19 effort at the line, to lead the Nets to a 105-98 victory over the Pacers on Friday night at Barclays Center.

Down by 14 late in the third quarter, the Pacers went on a 21-7 run to tie the game at 90 with 5:15 left. The Nets went scoreless for the first 4:05 of the fourth period. But the Nets regained control with a late 13-2 run. Harden had five points and LaMarcus Aldridge and Joe Harris each had four points in that spurt. Harden and Aldridge also made a steal.

The Nets still committed 18 turnovers leading to 23 Pacers points and they were beaten 23-14 on second-chance points, but they forced the Pacers into 39.8% overall shooting, including 27.6% from three-point range (8-for-29).

Asked about the Nets finding their identity, Harden said: "Defensively, the thing we’ve been talking about is our rebounding and then our turnovers. As long as we can get shots up offensively, we have really good shotmakers and playmakers.

"I feel more confident every game. We’ve got to keep doing it and doing it every single possession. That’s when we build good habits and those habits are going to carry us through the regular season and into the postseason."

The Nets (3-3) also got 22 points and 11 rebounds from Kevin Durant and 21 points off the bench from Aldridge, who became the 48th player in NBA history to top the 20,000-point mark. The Nets also held the Pacers to 36 points in the second and third periods after giving up 38 in the first.

Torrey Craig topped the Pacers (1-5) with 28 bench points plus 11 rebounds, Chris Duarte added 19 and Domantas Sabonis had 16 points.

The Nets caught a break when Pacers leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) was ruled out before the game along with former Nets favorite Caris LeVert (back), who has yet to play this season after recovering from a cancer scare last summer.

The Pacers took a 26-14 lead in the opening period, and they wound up scoring a whopping 38 points by the end of the quarter to maintain that 12-point margin. An early spurt that included two baskets on offensive rebounds by Craig pushed the Pacers’ lead to 46-30.

But the game turned just as quickly shortly after Nash protested a non-call on a Harden drive to the basket. Earlier this season, Nash called Harden the "poster boy" for new rules that say referees can’t award foul shots to offensive players who make non-basketball moves to draw contact.

"The game is being called much differently, I guess would be a fair way to put it," Nash said before the game. "Usually, it will come back to the middle. I think some of the contact on drives is just a foul."

Apparently, after Nash made that point to the officials, the Nets suddenly started getting to the line while drawing contact on their drives. They put together an extended 28-9 run to end the half with a 58-55 lead. Harden had 11 points in that stretch and was 10-for-11 at the foul line by halftime, and the Nets were 21-for-27 overall compared to 6-for-8 for the Pacers.

Early in the third quarter, the Pacers put together a 10-0 surge fueled by four Nets turnovers in five possessions to cut the deficit to 68-67. But the Nets responded with a 15-2 run that included six points from Aldridge to push their lead to a high of 14 points, and they took an 85-74 lead to the final period.

Notes & quotes: Following the game, lead referee Sean Wright admitted Durant should have been ejected in the third quarter when he threw a ball into the stands with force.

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