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Plumlee, Nets hold off Pelicans, 93-81

The Nets' high-flying rookie has a career night.

Maddie Meyer

Tonight's game was supposed to be about a young, athletic big man showcasing his considerable skills in front of the Barclays Center fans.

And it was.

Mason Plumlee was aggressive all night - running, jumping, dunking, ooping and attacking the boards - playing a style that provided some excitement that the slow-paced Nets sometimes lack. Plumlee finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks on 8-10 shooting in only 28 minutes, leading the Nets to a 93-81 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

"(Mason) brings youth, athletic ability, fresh, young legs and the ability to catch and finish. And you can see the hard work that he's put in since the summer. But I think also his teammates believe in him, and that's something that you have to give him credit for listening to the veteran guys like KG and Paul; being able to help him understand the NBA game." said Head Coach Jason Kidd.

A memorable moment was a spectacular 2nd quarter alley-oop from Jason Terry, who displayed some terrific chemistry with Plumlee all night. After the Pelicans' Eric Gordon threw the ball away after a double-team, Terry and Plumlee ran a spectacular fast break, with Terry throwing a perfect lob to the sky walking big man, who rammed it down. The play made Terry's 5,000th career assist a memorable one.

"Jason is an underrated passer. Jeesh!", said Plumlee "He wasn't even looking at me. Normally you have eye contact on an alley-oop. He was just throwing them to the perfect spot and I would go get it."

Anthony Davis, New Orleans' young superstar, put in another strong effort, collecting 24 points to lead all scorers.

Both Davis and his Pelicans got off to a slow start. They managed just 28 points in the 1st half, scoring only 14 points in each of the first two quarters.

But some of the luster was taken off that fine Nets defensive effort when Davis led his charges to 32 3rd quarter points and trimmed the Nets' lead from 23 at the half to as little as 9.

But the Nets' bench returned to the game in the 4th, and the result was the same as in the 1st half as they held off the Pelicans and preserved the victory. Plumlee and Terry were bolstered by terrific performances from Mirza Teletovic (13 points, 11 rebounds), Alan Anderson (13 points) and Andrei Kirilenko, who was very active on defense and whose hustle contributed beyond the score sheet.

The Nets are now only 2.5 behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic division lead, and continue to sit in the 7th spot in the East. Next they transition from the former Hornets to the future Hornets when they welcome the Bobcats to Barclays Center on Wednesday night.