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Nets can't fight off Pelicans big comeback, lose 109-104 in OT

After leading by as much as 22, the Nets blow a big lead and lose in OT to the Pelicans, 109-104.

The vibes are high around the Nets organization, and rightfully so. Brooklyn entered Monday night winners of four straight and 10 of their last 12. They're team is coming off an intense, overtime thriller of a win Sunday night in Dallas. They were down the entire first half, but behind the offensive spark of Marcus Thornton and Joe Johnson, the team rallied back and notched a huge road victory.

Monday's game against the Pelicans was the Nets second of their three game road trip. The team entered the night at 14-20 on the road, and 5-10 on the second night of back-backs, so it wasn't expected to be an easy matchup. In the last battle between the two teams, the Nets won 93-81. Anthony Davis, the Pelicans All-Star forward, scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the matchup. He averages a double-double with 21.7 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game.

For the 13th straight game, Kevin Garnett sat out due to back spasms. Andrei Kirilenko sat out as well, due to an ankle injury suffered in Sunday night's game against Dallas.

However, what looked to be an easy win for the Nets after the first half, turned out to be a disappointing loss in overtime, 109-104. Fatigue seemed to kick in late in the game for the Nets, as they blew a 22-point second half lead, giving the Pelicans an easier route to victory. Tyreke Evans led the comeback with 33 points and 10 rebounds.

“I’m sure it’s there," said Jason Kidd when asked about exhaustion. "But that’s no excuse. We had an opportunity to win a game, it went into overtime, and we just couldn’t get it back.”

The Nets jumped out to a decent start to this game. Their offense was clicking, and the defense was packed tight in the paint. But, they were unable to capitalize off their small lead(s), which caused this to be a closely contested quarter in favor of the Nets, 26-20.

Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston got the night started for Brooklyn, scoring eight points apiece, on a combined 6-7 shooting. The Nets as a team finished the first quarter 9-21 (43%) from the field.

The Nets continued to look good in the second quarter. They went on a 14-2 run and found their first double-digit lead of the night. Nine Nets players had scored, proving to be an aggressive and balanced attack in the first half.

The Nets started to dominate the game, as they hit their peak with a 21 point lead, which was quickly answered with a 8-0 run from New Orleans. Still, Brooklyn stayed strong, finishing the half with a 58-42 lead. The Nets were out-rebounded 25-24. Considering how well the Pelicans rebound the ball, this is something Jason Kidd can definitely be proud of.

Anthony Davis was on pace for yet another big night, as he was inching close to a double-double with 17 points & seven rebounds. Paul Pierce led the Nets with 15 points, while Deron Williams chipped in 11. The Nets hot start was executed even with Joe Johnson being held to two points.

Quick first half stats: You know it's a good night when the Nets grab seven first-half steals, while only turning the ball over a total of three times. Great defense and a conservative offense usually results in great success.

Marcus Thornton was announced out for the second half with a bruised back.

The Nets struggled to execute early in the third quarter. Even worse for the Nets, Paul Pierce slammed his back into the hardwood floor, as he winced his way to the bench. The Pelicans followed up with an 8-0 run, cutting their deficit down to just eight. Just like that, we had ourselves a ball game.

The Pelicans run led to a Nets timeout, and fortunately for Brooklyn, a return from Paul Pierce.

The Nets answered with a 7-0 run of their own, putting them back up 13. Late in the quarter, Alexis Ajinca seemed to give Paul Pierce a deliberate elbow to the face. A little scuffle erupted, but nothing serious. The game moved on.

Move on it did, and boy, did the Nets struggle to finish off the quarter. Tyreke Evans scored 15 third quarter points --25 total and had his team down 76-73 going into the fourth quarter. Fatigue seemed to be playing a huge factor, as the Nets were out-scored 31-18 in the quarter.

The game continued at a back and forth pace in the final quarter of play. The Nets seemed to be playing not to lose, rather than playing to win, watching buckets fall short and Pelicans baskets coming fast.

They looked exhausted, and really, can you blame them? The game was tied at 89 with five minutes remaining, after another bucket from Tyreke Evans. The absence of Marcus Thornton was really hurting the Nets.

After a couple of big buckets from Anthony Morrow, the Nets were down 98-95. The Nets came down on the offensive end to see Paul Pierce hit yet another clutch three pointer this season. The score was all knotted up at 98, with 24 seconds remaining.

The Pelicans let the clock wind all the way down. Tyreke Evans tried to shake a double team from Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston, but was forced to kick it to a contested, Anthony Morrow. Morrow's shot banked off the back iron, and for the second straight night, the Nets were headed to overtime.

The Pelicans got the extra time started with an 8-2 run, behind the likes of Anthony Morrow & Brian Roberts, who both knocked down huge threes. The score was 106-100 with 2:37 remaining. Anthony Morrow hit another huge three to put the Pelicans up 109-102, killing the Nets chances of winning this game.

Final score: Pelicans 109, Nets 104.

The Nets shot just 31% in the second half, to finish at 36.7%, while being out-scored 31-10 in the paint. They also took a franchise-record 40 three-pointers, which could be a result of Anthony Davis protecting the paint and tired legs.

Tyreke Evans' 33 points and 10 rebounds led all scorers through this game. His contributions were the reason New Orleans made the impressive comeback. Anthony Davis scored 24 points & 13 rebounds, while Brian Roberts chipped in 17.

For the Nets, Deron Williams put up 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Paul Pierce added 22 points, while Joe Johnson chipped in 15. What looked to be an easy win, ended up being a disappointing loss for the Nets, snapping their four game win streak.

The Nets look to finish off the three game road-trip on a good note, Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.

For more on the Pelicans, check them out at The Bird Writes.