Monday, March 24, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pelicans 109, Nets 104 (OT)
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets followed up one of their best wins of the season with one of their worst losses.
The Nets blew a 22-point lead and fell 109-104 in overtime to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night at Smoothie King Center.
The Pelicans hit three 3-pointers in the extra session -- two of them by old friend Anthony Morrow.
Brooklyn’s four-game winning streak is over. The Nets, playing their second overtime in as many nights, looked like they ran out of gas.
What it means: The Nets (37-32) fell two games behind both the Toronto Raptors (in the Atlantic Division standings) and the Chicago Bulls (for No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs).
They are now 34-3 when leading after three quarters.
Deron Williams was terrific, finishing with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Williams extended his consecutive steal streak to 19 games -- the longest active streak in the NBA. Paul Pierce added 24 points.
The Nets had no answers for Anthony Davis (24 points, 14 rebounds) or Tyreke Evans (33 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists), who both got whatever they wanted offensively.
The Nets shot just 10-for-40 from 3-point range but went 28-for-32 at the free-throw stripe. They shot only 36.7 percent (33-for-90) from the field overall.
The Nets led 66-44 in the third quarter, but the Pelicans countered with a 17-1 run to get within 67-61.
The Pelicans would take their first lead since the score was 7-5 with 3:25 left (91-89) as the Nets went eight straight offensive possessions without a point.
Brooklyn trailed 98-93 with 1:14 remaining, but Mason Plumlee got a dunk and Pierce hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 24 seconds left. The Nets effectively double-teamed Evans on New Orleans’ final two possessions in regulation, forcing the ball out of Evans’ hands.
Tensions escalate: With 2:36 left in the third quarter, Pierce and Alexis Ajinca got tangled up in the post. Ajinca elbowed Pierce in the face while trying to clear some offensive position down low. Pierce wasn’t happy about it. Pierce began pointing his finger at Ajinca and got in his face. Ajinca was assessed an offensive foul and Pierce a technical foul.
Injuries abound: Kevin Garnett missed his 13th straight game due to back spasms. Andrei Kirilenko sat out with a sprained left ankle. Marcus Thornton, the team announced at halftime, would not return due to a bruised lower back. Pierce appeared to tweak his right shoulder again in the third quarter, while Andray Blatche appeared to jam a finger on his right hand in the fourth.
Up next: The Nets are off Tuesday, then face the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.