We’ll see if the country is better under the Trump administration, but apparently the Brooklyn Nets are.
The Nets (9-33) FINALLY put an end to the recent ugliness with a 143-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Inauguration Day, Friday. They haven’t won a game since Randy Foye’s game-winner on December 26. It was also the most points in a non-overtime game in franchise history since April 17, 1982!
With the win, the Nets…
- · Won their first game of 2017
- · Snapped an 11-game losing streak
- · Snapped a 15-game losing streak on the road
- · Set a season-high for points in a game
- . Scored the most points in regulation since 1982
The Nets displayed their best start-to-finish performance of the entire season and it was a sight to behold, despite Jeremy Lin, Sean Kilpatrick and Trevor Booker sitting out. They were led by Brook Lopez, the young guys off the bench and quite simply: a complete team effort.
“I could sit up here and B.S. you guys and say this happened, they made shots … no. They kicked our ass,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “In just plain English, they kicked our ass. In every phase of the game they did. Three-point shooting, rebounding, hustling, driving the ball to the basket. Everything that you can talk about basketball, there was not one phase of the game we won. Not one.”
The Nets scored 37 points in the second and then a season-high 43 in the third ... against a team that in recent weeks has been one of the best, if not the best, defensive unit in the NBA.
For the first time of the season, five different players off the bench scored in double figures: Caris LeVert had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (12 points, seven rebounds), Quincy Acy (12 points, eight rebounds), Randy Foye (11 points) and Luis Scola (14 points).
The bench scored a total of 73 points on 26-of-40 shooting.
As a whole, the Nets were led by Brook Lopez (23 points, eight rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (23 points). They shot 58 percent from the field, 15-of-30 percent from 3-point (50 percent). They dished out 24 assists and outscored New Orleans 60-42 inside the paint.
Perhaps one of their unappreciated feats of the night was holding Anthony Davis to just two points in the second half.
“The thing that made me proud is their spirit,” Kenny Atkinson said. “It didn’t seem like a team that’s been on a losing streak. We’ve had some tough times, but they really stayed together through this tough stretch. It’s nice to see them get rewarded.”
It all started in the first half…
Behind the young core of Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead, the Nets went on a 14-2 run midway through the second quarter, capped off by an acrobatic and-one finish from Hollis-Jefferson to put Brooklyn up by 11. It was just the beginning of a phenomenal half for Brooklyn’s bench mob.
The bench scored 34 of the 66 points, which marked a season-high for points in a half on the road.
LeVert led the reserves with 10 points at the break and sparked the club on the offensive and defensive end. That’s what makes him different than others: his versatility. He, along with the rest of the reserves, played a huge role in Brooklyn’s 37-point second quarter and 66-54 lead at half.
Furthermore, the Nets shot 56 percent and 7-of-14 from deep in the half. Aside from Anthony Davis going off, it just seemed like everything was going their way.
The script reads familiar. Usually Nets fans would prepare for the worst and expect some sort of second half collapse, one way or another.
Not on Friday.
Instead, the Nets started the second half on a 10-2 run and took their largest lead of the night at 20! It was like the basketball gods had finally smiled on the Nets. The bench carried their weight, and Brook Lopez scored nine points in the quarter as Nets took complete control in the third.
They extended the lead to 24 heading into the fourth quarter, dropping 43 points in the third and 109 total. It was their most points in a quarter this season, while the 109 points through three quarters was the most scored since 1991.
The Nets eventually found their largest lead of the game AND season at 31 early in the fourth quarter, then 33 late.
For the first time in a very, very long time we can say: NETS WIN!
Trevor Booker and Sean Kilpatrick both sat out due to “rest”. Jeremy Lin was out (hamstring) and Chris McCullough was with the Long Island Nets.
“I’m having fun, man,’’ Hollis-Jefferson told The Post before the game. “We work so hard, there comes a point in time where you say I’ve just got to enjoy myself while I’m out there, play hard and smile more often.
“When you’re happy and comfortable, you’re not forcing things, making mistakes and getting frustrated about it. If you’re already in a down mood, that builds up on you, and it affects how you play. I’m just trying to stay happy.”
Next up: Saturday at Charlotte.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 143, New Orleans 114 - NBA.com
- NBA Assist of the Night - Whitehead to Hollis-Jefferson (Video) - NBA.com
- Whitehead’s dime for Hollis-Jefferson (Video) - NBA.com
- Davis dunk (Video) - NBA.com
- Hollis-Jefferson and-one dunk (Video) - NBA.com
- Holiday splits Nets defense (Video) - NBA.com
- Highlights: Nets vs. Pelicans (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Highlights: LeVert vs. Pelicans (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Highlights: Bogdanovic vs. Pelicans (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Highlights: Lopez vs. Pelicans (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Block by Isaiah Whitehead (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Bogdanovic plus one (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- LeVert on big win over Pelicans (Video) - Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Nets Post Game Plus: BKN at NOP - YES Network
- Atkinson on Nets' dominant win (Video) - YES Network
- Lopez on snapping losing streak (Video) - YES Network
- Hollis-Jefferson on mindset (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on resting players (Video) - YES Network
- Nets end 11-game skid by routing Pelicans 143-114 - Guerry Smith - AP
- Lopez, Bogdanovic propel Nets in rout of Pelicans - Reuters
- Nets pick up first win in 2017 with a shocking beatdown - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Caris LeVert not only young player giving Nets a glimmer of hope - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets end skid in style, scoring 143 points in blowout of Pelicans - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets rest Trevor Booker, Sean Kilpatrick vs. Pelicans - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets throttle Pelicans from beginning to end, win 143-114 (Game Grades) - Benny Nadeau - The Brooklyn Game
- Pelicans defense falls apart, Anthony Davis injures quad in 143-114 blowout loss to the Nets - William Guillory - New Orleans Times-Picayune
- Pelicans F Solomon Hill: 'I think it was the worst loss of my career, by far' - William Guillory - New Orleans Times-Picayune
- 'Everything sucked': Alvin Gentry fumes after Pelicans get trounced by NBA-worst Nets - Scott Kushner - New Orleans Advocate
- Alvin Gentry rips Pelicans' overall play after Nets score 143 in rout - Justin Verrier - ESPN