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All they had to do was the hold the ball... Nets lose 117-115 in New Orleans

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ugh...

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell went from hero to zero in a matter of seconds.

With the shot clock turned off and the Nets up by one point, New Orleans decided to try and trap Brooklyn instead of foul. The Nets did a good job of keeping the ball away until Russell tried to make a no-look pass in the corner that sailed out of bounds.

And as they say, good teams find ways to win and bad teams find ways to lose. On the ensuing possession, Jrue Holiday sank what would be the game-winning shot with two seconds left.

Moments later, Ed Davis was charged with a technical foul after pushing Solomon Hill for entering the Nets team huddle, making this one of the most bizarre endings... ever.

It didn’t matter anyway. The Nets turned the ball over on the inbounds and ultimately failed to score in the final 2:04 of this game. They turned the ball over 21 times compared to New Orleans’ 11.

And so, it was a 117-115 thrilling victory for New Orleans (4-0), and a tremendously disappointing loss for Brooklyn (2-3) in the third and final game of the three-game road-trip.

They’ll head home and face the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, then the New York Knicks on Monday.

“The fundamental turnovers are the worst turnovers,” said Kenny Atkinson after the game. “[They’re] young players and they’re going to grow and learn from this.”

Russell was having the best game of the young season, finishing with 24 points, five rebounds and four assists with six three-pointers. He committed five turnovers — one that cost the Nets the game.

Afterwards, he reacted this way: “I think we gave ourselves a chance but to lose it like that, the pain is going to be more ...” On the pass itself, he admitted, “All my fault.”

No moral victories

It looked like it might be a long night for the Nets after Kenny Atkinson was forced to call a timeout just 1:17 into the game, but the timeout served its duty and the Nets got hot after that.

They took a 66-57 lead into halftime with 18-first half points from D’Angelo Russell. He led Brooklyn on a 36-point attack and led by as many as 12. Brooklyn’s strong inside game opened up their outside game as they hit 19 on the night on 40 attempts.

The hyped-up Pelicans didn’t go away and tied it up with less than five minutes remaining. Caris LeVert hit two huge buckets in the lane to go up seven, but the Nets failed to score from the point on in the final two minutes of the game.

LeVert finished with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists but shot just 8-of-23 from the floor. Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s backup ball handlers had a good night — Shabazz Napier with 16 points and Spencer Dinwiddie with 11 points and five assists off the bench.

For New Orleans, Holiday was the high man of the night with 26 points and five assists, while Anthony Davis went for 18 points, 14 rebounds, four steals and five blocked shots. He came up with the steal that ultimately won New Orleans the game.

The Nets played relatively good transition defense throughout the game. They located the trailer, put a body on the open man and defended the bigs well on the perimeter — particularly Nikola Mirotic who attempted just one three ball all night.

... And it still wasn’t enough.

SOLOMON HILL ENTERS NETS HUDDLE, DAVIS GETS T’D

As the Nets were in the midst of drawing up their final play, Solomon Hill entered the Nets huddle and was immediately pushed out by Ed Davis. Hill exaggerated the push and the refs T’d up Davis.

Davis’ reaction:

Hill’s reaction:

QUICK HITS ENTERING FRIDAY (Courtesy of NETS PR)

  • Jarrett Allen is fourth in the league in blocks per game (2.5) and tied for eighth in percentage (61.8%).
  • Caris LeVert is 14th in the league in Field goal percentage (59.6%).
  • LeVert is averaging 21.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 31.5 minutes per game. Only six players to appear in multiple games this season are averaging 20.0+ points, 5.0+ rebounds and 4.0+ assists while shooting .500 or better from the field: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Nikola Jokic, Chris Paul and LeVert.
  • Ed Davis is first in the league in defensive rebound percentage (33.8 percent), second in rebound percentage (24.3 percent), trailing only Andre Drummond.

INACTIVES

  • Nets: DeMarre Carroll (ankles), Rodions Kurucs (ankle), Treveon Graham (hamstring), Kenneth Faried (illness) and Alan Williams (knee).
  • Pelicans: Trevon Bluiett (G League assigment).

***

For a different —and no doubt happier— perspective, head on over to The Bird Writes.

The Nets will come home and face the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at 5:00pm ET.