Irving, LeVert power Nets past Pelicans


Final: 11/04/2019

W 135 125

Sitting at 2-4 entering Monday night, the Brooklyn Nets desperately needed a win against the struggling New Orleans Pelicans.

Behind Kyrie Irving’s 39 points and nine assists, the Nets outlasted a gutsy a Pelicans team — one that was just as desperate for a victory.

At this point, the Nets faithful has gotten used to clutch performances from New Jersey native Irving. With the game within seven points down the stretch, Irving made game-changing plays on both ends of the floor. Whether he was finding the open man or hitting his free throws, Irving controlled the fourth quarter.

Irving embarrassed the Pelicans, just as Brandon Ingram did to Brooklyn’s defense. Ingram dropped 40 points, with the Nets having no answer for the ex-Laker. Caris LeVert also came up big, dazzling on offense and continuing to show his versatility. 

Of Brooklyn 135 points, the starters scored 111 of them. Last season, the Nets relied on the bench as much as any team in the league. As of late, coach Kenny Atkinson opted for a four-man bench rotation, as opposed to his conventional five-man rotation.

It was a welcomed sight to see all five starters — Irving, LeVert, Harris, Prince and Allen — score double-figures. Still, moving forward, the bench will need to play a more pivotal role.

The Nets shot impressively from the field tonight, hitting on over 53 percent of their shots. They also improved on their sub-70 percent mark at the free-throw line, converting on 21-28 (75 percent) of their chances tonight.

Despite the victory, it wasn’t all roses for Brooklyn.

After a dominant first half, the Nets defense fell apart. After allowing 50 first-half points, Brooklyn allowed a whopping 48(!) points in the third quarter.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Brooklyn’s first-half defense was stellar, making the team’s defensive collapse all the more frustrating. Similar to Saturday night’s loss in Detroit, the defense still has to figure out how to play well for all four quarters.

The Brooklyn Nets entered the night averaging 19 turnovers per game, and they topped their average tonight — committing a total of 23(!) giveaways.

The Pelicans had 21 turnovers of their own, as sloppy offense and abysmal defense defined the game for both teams. The only difference was that the Nets strung together a series of runs and prevented the Pelicans from going on extended runs of their own.

In football terms, the Nets played “bend but don’t break” defense — especially in the fourth quarter.

In Brooklyn’s struggles in the Atkinson-era, ball movement is usually the main culprit. As a team, the Nets had 32 assists on Monday, a sign of elite ball movement.

On a lesser note for Brooklyn, DeAndre Jordan exited with a sprained left ankle in the fourth. Further information on the severity of the injury has yet to be announced.

With the win, the Nets improved to 3-4 on the season (3-2 at home). Brooklyn plays their next game on Friday in Portland, as the Nets search for their elusive first road win of the season. Three days off should help Jordan, but it is likely for the Nets to exert caution over the 31-year-old’s health. The Nets need him for the long haul.

If Irving continues this level of dominance and the team improves defensively, the Nets can continue to rise and overcome the slow start to the season. 

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 39 PTS, 13-21 FG, 2-6 3PT, 11-11 FT, 4 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL, 5 TO, 34 MIN

Kyrie Irving is one-of-a-kind.

His 39-point performance led the Nets to their third win of the season.

Irving can do basically anything from anywhere on the offensive end. His vision and ball-handling help him find open men and create space for shots of his own.

And on a night where his teammates are making open shots, Irving is most lethal.

Irving has yet to score fewer than 20 points in any game this season and only trails James Harden for the lead in points per game in the NBA.

Caris LeVert


The stats: 23 PTS, 9-19 FG, 4-8 3PT, 1-3 FT, 7 REB, 5 AST, 3 TO, 35 MIN

Caris LeVert has firmly established himself as Brooklyn’s No. 2 guy. If not Irving, the Nets look to LeVert for a basket in the clutch.

Despite struggling from the field against Detroit, LeVert looked like his old self tonight.

LeVert’s four threes paired well with his interior prowess, troubling the Pelicans throughout the night.

Performances like these are one of the many reasons Caris LeVert is a fan favorite.

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 7 PTS, 3-8 FG, 1-4 3PT, 1 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 20 MIN

Spencer Dinwiddie’s inconsistent start to the campaign is defined by poor outside shooting and costly turnovers.

When he is on, Dinwiddie can blow by any defender in the NBA. But when he is off, Dinwiddie tries to be the hero — much to the detriment of Brooklyn’s offense.

On Monday, Dinwiddie was again not himself.

Everyone besides Dinwiddie had their shot going against New Orleans. It appears that he may be in his own head, as indicated by his athletic drives to the basket.

Maybe Dinwiddie needs to get away from Brooklyn for a few days. Hopefully, for Brooklyn, he finds his touch on the road trip.

Joe Harris


The stats: 19 PTS, 7-14 FG, 4-9 3PT, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 32 MIN

Joe Harris has been lights out this season.

The 3-Point Contest champ has not disappointed this season, entering Monday night shooting 57 percent from deep.

And his performance against New Orleans was no different. 

Harris scored his season-high in points and made a clutch three to ice the game.

Keep doing your thing, Joe.

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 18 PTS, 7-18 FG, 4-7 FT, 10 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO, 30 MIN

Atkinson’s opponent-based starting center system hasn’t fazed Jarrett Allen.

While Allen sure hopes his offensive production improves (especially at the FT line), his rebounding and rim protection has been stellar.

On Monday, the Fro found his touch at the rim.

Allen scored his season-high points total, taking advantage of Jahlil Okafor and Jaxson Hayes.

Allen’s improved performance will be tested in Portland, against a tough foe in Hassan Whiteside.