After Wednesday’s loss in Chicago, the Nets are already advancing with a win at New Orleans (102-108). Underneath the collective awkwardness, New Yorkers are avoiding the start of a losing streak they haven’t experienced since mid-November.
After a balanced first quarter (28-27), the natives, carried by CJ McCollum and Naji Marshall, nevertheless took a comfortable lead at the break (64-53). Kevin Durant and his family responded competently to come back with twelve minutes to go (85-88) in a controlled third quarter.
Kyrie Irving had the last word to lead his team to victory in the last game with one possession.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– Illiteracy, when it catches us. The Nets, who shot just 43.5%, did not shine in this sector more than the Pelicans (40%). Brooklyn’s players, the league’s most skilled team overall (51%) since the start of the season, have shown they can apply themselves despite these skill issues. It was just the second time this season that a New York team won by shooting less than 47%. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant combined for a poor 16/48 shooting…
– Pelicans slide. Still short of the conference lead, the Pelicans are now 3rd in the West and notably first, two wins behind the Nuggets. Still without Brandon Ingram and especially Zion Williamson for several weeks, the Pels have lost three of their last four. Not ideal before embarking on a not-so-easy “road trip” to the East (Mavs, Wizards, Celtics, Pistons and Cavs). Especially since they are less comfortable when traveling (7 wins – 10 losses).
✅ Nic Claxton. The best rating of the night belongs to Kevin Durant. The Nets center didn’t miss a single shot of the evening and acted as a deterrent on the perimeter with five blocks. A solid “role player” matchup, such as performances from Royce O’Neale, who bounced back well after his nightmare in Chicago (being sick), or the impressive TJ Warren.
✅ Naji Marshall. If CJ McCollum took his responsibility in the attack of the Pelicans, in the absence of the Ingram – Williamson pair, the winger showed more productivity in “scoring”. One more rebound and he had his first double-double of the season.
⛔ Joe Harris. Any small walk for a shooter who is 1/5 in shooting from 2-pointers in Chicago. He didn’t pick up more than three personal fouls in 14 minutes that night.
Pelicans (24-15) : travel to Dallas the next night.
Nets (26-13) : A trip to the Heat on Sunday.