All the fun basketball the Brooklyn Nets have been displaying came to a frustrating end Wednesday night with a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, 102-96. The Pelicans ended the Nets win-streak without their superstar, Anthony Davis and two of their best scorers, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holliday.
The Nets did have the NBA play of the day, Markel Brown's 360-degree dunk in transition, but otherwise...
The Nets started the fourth quarter 2-for-10 from the field and the Pelicans took advantage. They immediately jumped on the Nets with a 10-0 run, increasing their one-point lead up to 11 with five minutes remaining. Brooklyn showed signs of hope, cutting the deficit down to five with over 1:48 remaining, but failed to take advantage of their late opportunities. They stopped the Pelicans on the following possession, but failed to make it a one-possession game after Jarrett Jack missed a forced three-point shot with plenty of time on the shot clock. Quincy Pondexter, the game's leading scorer with 25 points, nailed the dagger three to put New Orleans up by eight with 49 seconds left.
Brooklyn's lineup to close out the game was puzzling. Thaddeus Young (19 points, 8-12 FG) was the leading scorer for most of the game -- but was benched for the final five minutes of action. However, they left the combination of Jarrett Jack and Deron Williams in the game, despite their poor track record playing together this season.
After notching a double-double in two consecutive games, Deron Williams struggled in this one. He played 34 minutes, but shot 4-of-14 from the field for 10 points and six assists. Joe Johnson was the only other starter in double digits and led all Brooklyn players with 21 points.
The Pelicans doubled the Nets in assists, 26-13, with Tyreke Evans as the main facilitator with 15 points and 11 assists. Omer Asik filled in Anthony Davis' spot nicely with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Nets shot a poor 42.4% from the field, but scored 52 points in the paint and scored 16 fastbreak points, a prime stat to prove their quicker pace to reward their 20 forced turnovers.
Their bench, composed of Brook Lopez (15 points, 7 rebounds & 4 blocks), Thaddeus Young (19 points, 5 rebounds) , and Jarrett Jack (15 points) combined for 49 points on 20-for-38 shooting. Nobody else on the bench played.
On a negative note, Mason Plumlee finished with zero points in 14 minutes. Excluding Joe Johnson, the rest of the starters combined for 26 points on 10-for-37 shooting. It wasn't pretty.
Although the Nets won two straight prior to this game, this was a golden opportunity to finish the last five games with a positive outcome. It won't be easy to do with a back-to-back coming up against the Houston Rockets, then Dallas Mavericks -- a Texas rodeo road-trip. They're now 23-32 and stand pat as the eighth seed in the East.
One continuing issue that the loss pointed up: the inability of D-Will and Jack to play efficiently together. Lionel Hollins addressed it the post-game.
"Because they’re both better with the ball in their hands than without it in their hands," Hollins said. "When Deron has played by himself, his numbers are better, and when Jarrett plays by himself, his numbers are better."
The two were on the court together for 14 minutes vs. the Pelicans. As Tim Bontemps reports, the two have played together 473 total minutes and in that time, the Nets have been outscored by 12.1 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com.
Quarter by quarter summary:
First quarter ... Well, the momentum certainly didn't convert over from Monday night's big victory in Denver. The Pelicans jumped out to an 16-4 run, while the Nets got off to an ice cold 2-for-15 start. Fortunately, they picked up the pace a bit when Thaddeus Young entered andinjected energy into the team. The Nets went on a 9-2 run late in the quarter, capped off by a steal and breakaway 360 slam from Markel Brown. Despite the shooting woes, they trailed by just six heading into the second quarter.
Second quarter ... The Nets were struggling big time, but the heavy bench duo of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young came in the game and turned things around. Lopez finished the half with 15 points, 5 rebounds and two rebounds, but scored 10 of his 15 in the second quarter. Thaddeus Young scored nine in the second but 13 in the half. The two combined for 19 of the 29-Brooklyn points and they cut their deficit down to three.
The bench scored 32 points and the team scored 32 points in the paint. The Pelicans had just 14-bench points, but saw a 13-point half from Quincy Pondexter, their only player in double digits.
Score at the half: Pelicans 53, Nets 50.
Third quarter... Joe Johnson scored eight straight points to start the quarter, but the Nets couldn't gain full momentum in the quarter. Johnson had 16 points through three quarter. For New Orleans, Quincy Pondexter led with 20 points, eight coming in the third. The teams scored 23 apiece and the three point deficit remained, 76-73.
Fourth quarter ... The Nets started the quarter 2-for-10 from the field and the Pelicans took advantage. They immediately jumped on the Nets with a 10-0 run, increasing their one-point lead up to 11 with five minutes remaining.
The Nets showed signs of hope, cutting the deficit down to five with over 1:48 remaining. The Nets stopped the Pelicans but failed to make it a one possession game after Jarrett Jack forced up a three with time remaining on the shot clock. Pondexter made him pay with a dagger three.
Final score: Pelicans 102, Nets 96.
For more on the Pelicans, check them out at The Dream Shake.
- Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets at New Orleans Pelicans, 8:00 PM EST - NetsDaily
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets at Pelicans - NetsDaily
- Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans - Box Score - ESPN
- Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans - Recap - February 25, 2015 - AP
- Play of the Day - Markel Brown (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets vs. Pelicans (Video) - NBA.com
- Evans Dish (Video) - NBA.com
- Cunningham Block (Video) - NBA.com
- 360-degree Slam Dunk (Video) - NBA.com
- Young Dunk (Video) - NBA.com
- Hollins on defensive struggles in loss to Pelicans (Video) - YES Network
- Jack on his return from injury, loss to Pelicans (Video) - YES Network
- Brown discusses homecoming, loss to Pelicans (Video) - YES Network
- Brown Busts Out 360 Slam (Video) - ESPN
- NBA Top 3 Plays Of The Night (Video) - ESPN
- Pelicans Pick Up 30th Win Of The Season (Video) - ESPN
- Markel Brown Throws Down 360 Slam Dunk (Video) - The Brooklyn Game
- Markel Brown's Second-Best Dunk On The Night Is Still Pretty Awesome (Video) - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets have letdown, lose to undermanned Pelicans - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Markel Brown gets thrilling dunk for family, friends - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets beaten by Pelicans, 102-96, in New Orleans - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Why Nets’ Williams and Jack struggle when playing together - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets’ 2-game win streak snapped by short-handed Pelicans - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Game Recap: Pelicans 102 — Nets 96 - SNY Nets
- Nets Let One Slip Away In New Orleans (Grades) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Brown, Young give Nets new look - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- Brooklyn Nets Slam Back To Earth With Loss To Undermanned Pelicans - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
Nets Show They Care Off the Court, But Fail to Take Care of Business on the Court - Lenn Robbins - Brooklyn Nets
- Luke Babbitt's Pelicans' play is helping him erase his 'chalupa guy' past - Jimmy Smith - New Orleans Times Picayune
- Pelicans' Quincy Pondexter ends two-game shooting slump with career-high 25 points against Nets - John Reid - New Orleans Times Picayune
- Quincy Pondexter leads Pelicans past Nets - Darrell Williams - New Orleans Advocate