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Nets head to New Orleans to play disappointing Pelicans

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun. Coming off a loss to the Raptors, the Nets had little time to recover, but recover they did in a big win over the 76ers at Barclays Center. Philly fans might note that their team didn’t have Joel Embiid but the Nets were without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert. So there.

The Nets are now 10-5 without their best players (or who we thought were their three best players at the beginning of the season.) Spencer Dinwiddie was a revelation, scoring 24 points for the fourth straight game and enhancing his candidacy for an All-Star berth.

None of the Big Three will be back for the Nets two-game southern swing which begins Tuesday in New Orleans, where the Pelicans have lost a franchise record 12 straight games and Alvin Gentry’s job seems to be on the line.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 8:00 ET.


The Nets will be without four players: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and Nicolas Claxton, No word on any of their returns.

No Zion Williamson (right knee scope), JJ Redick (left groin soreness) or Darius Miller (right Achilles surgery). Redick a late scratch.

The Game

A lot of people thought that the Pelicans with Williamson and young Lakers talent obtained in the Anthony Davis trade would give New Orleans at shot at the playoffs. No way. The Pelcians are 6-21 and currently on a 12-game losing streak. While Brandon Ingram has met his billing, Lonzo Ball has not, once again under performing ... and losing his starting role.

Ingram, in fact, had his best game vs. the Nets back on November 4. He scored 40 points and kept the Pelicans in a game the Nets won, 135-125. Ingram shot 17-of-24 from the field in the best game of his young career. For the Nets, Irving had 39 and some clutch scoring near the end.

A number of the Pelicans losses have been heart-breaking, losing to the Lakers by four, to the Thunder by five and three and to the Pistons by two. But they’ve also been blown out several times. Defense is the big problem. During their losing streak, they’re giving up 121.4 points a game.

On the other hand, as John Schumann wrote Monday...

The Pelicans came a possession away from beating Detroit on Monday and they came back from 16 down to take a second-half lead in Philadelphia (where the Sixers are 14-0) on Friday. They got Derrick Favors back over the weekend, Brandon Ingram has been remarkably steady offensively, and they’ve been better with Jrue Holiday at point guard (where he’s been with Lonzo Ball moving back to the bench last week) than at the two.

The Nets would like to take advantage of what’s become a powerhouse offense, capable of using 3-point shooting and scoring in the paint. Schuhmann again:

They’ve cooled off from 3-point range, but they’ve outscored each of their last five opponents by at least 10 points in the paint.

Derrick Favors, the ex-Net is back after a devastating series of issues. Favors played Friday against the 76ers for the first time in 27 days. It was only his 10th game of the season. He has dealt with knee soreness, back spasms and most recently, the sudden death of his mother, Favors, a key piece in the 2011 trade for Deron Williams, is still only 28.

Player to Watch

This is easy. Brandon Ingram is averaging 25 points, seven rebounds and nearly four assists while shooting 50/41/84, all career highs. The 6’7” forward, still only 22, is not just playing well. He’s playing big minutes and has missed only four games out of 27. Last season, while with the Lakers, Ingram missed 30 games last year, most of them to a circulation problem which he seems to have overcome.

From the Vault

Let’s remember the Pelicans last great moment, the night they want the Draft Lottery...

Looks like fun.

More reading: The Bird Writes.