The Nets knew that this would be a tough game on the road against Anthony Davis and the undefeated Pelicans. However, the young Nets came prepared to battle on the final stop of their three-game road trip. There was a persistent and focused defensive effort from the Nets for the majority of the night, resulting in a tightly contested game.
The game started on a sour note with a pair of ugly turnovers and multiple missed defensive assignments. But after a quick timeout from Kenny Atkinson, the Nets played pesky defense to keep the game close. Caris LeVert came out of the gate aggressive, leading the offense by consistently forcing his way to the basket and drawing fouls.
The Nets continued their improved play into the second quarter and took a 13-point lead — their largest of the night. D’Angelo Russell was largely the driving force propelling the team with timely threes and deadly floaters. Anthony Davis slightly eroded Brooklyn’s lead by breaking up a series of ill-advised lob attempts, forcing the Nets to take a nine-point lead into the half.
Coming out of the half, the Nets ran into many of the same struggles that they have faced in many third quarters as the Pelicans went on a run to tie the game at 76. The game remained tight as the Pelicans ramped up offensively and the Nets had trouble consistently producing. The quarter would have finished with a tie game if not for a Spencer Dinwiddie buzzer-beater three-pointer. Overall, it was a better-than-expected third quarter by Nets’ standards.
The fourth quarter remained close with both teams attempting to scrap out a close win. Brooklyn’s bigs came up clutch with necessary rebounds while Russell and Jared Dudley hit important threes to halt any possible Pelican momentum. With a five-point lead and three minutes left, Caris LeVert scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Nets a seven-point buffer.
Then, all the work up to that point was undone. With a two-point lead and 23.7 seconds left, the Nets intentionally sent Jrue Holiday to the free-throw line, where he made both to reduce the Nets’ lead to one. With the shot clock turned off, the Nets attempted to play keep-away from the Pelicans. D’Angelo Russell, for an unknown reason, fired off a no-look pass right past Caris LeVert, giving the ball back to the Pelicans who promptly ran it down the floor for a layup. That gave the Pelicans a one-point lead.
D'Angelo Russell's late turnover proves pivotal as the Nets fall just short against the Pelicans. pic.twitter.com/LWWvL8tNYt
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 27, 2018
Then, during the timeout called by Kenny Atkinson, Ed Davis received a technical foul for shoving Solomon Hill. After free throws, the Pelicans held a two-point lead. The inbound was promptly deflected by Davis, and the game was over.
The Nets were the better team for 47 minutes, but walk away without a win to show for it.
The stats: 24 PTS, 9-16 FG, 6-9 3PT, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 5 TO
The man was an absolute force tonight, there isn’t another way to put it. He moved with confidence and poise, getting to whichever spots he desired. This game was supposed to answer some of the critics of his early-season inconsistency.
When Russell is feeling it and engaged, he raises the ceiling of this team higher than any other player on the roster.
Then, of course, we got the other side of Russell with his careless turnover that gave the Pelicans the chance they needed.
The stats: 21 PTS, 8-23 FG, 1-6 3PT, 4 ORB, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 TO
One of my only criticisms of Caris LeVert throughout this early season has been that he hasn’t always been as aggressive as a player that his ability allows. Tonight, he came out swinging — he was not afraid to drive into the trees of New Orleans and got a pair of foul calls for his efforts.
Unfortunately, after the strong start, LeVert cooled off and had trouble finding his stroke for the rest of the contest. Thankfully for the Nets, the other guards of the team stepped in to fill that gap.
The stats: 7 PTS, 3-6 FG, 5 ORB, 9 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO
While Anthony Davis got the better of Jarrett Allen on several possessions, that is something that can’t be helped when facing a player of Davis’s caliber. Overall, Allen gave a strong defensive effort and was not afraid to create in the paint. He also came up with a number of key offensive rebounds to give the Nets some desperately needed extra possessions.
The stats: 5 PTS, 2-6 FG, 5 ORB, 11 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TOV
Ed Davis is exactly what the Nets were craving for games like these. A strong, rebounding big who isn’t afraid to battle in the paint. He was crucial in so many possessions, snatching the ball away from the outstretched arms of Anthony Davis.
If not for his needless technical foul, Ed Davis would have been everything the Nets needed tonight.
The stats: 4 PTS, 2-7 FG, 6 REB, 2 AST, 1 BLK
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson looks better every game back. His impact on the defense can’t be understated.
And while he didn’t score prolifically, the shots he did take were mostly high-quality looks and not wasted possessions.
The stats: 15 MIN, 16 PTS, 6-11 FG, 3-6 3PT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL
Napier impressed when given the opportunity to run the offense. Crafty decision making on the perimeter earned him foul calls that Pelican fans are probably still upset about. His quick offensive game looked effective from a variety of spots on the floor, and it will be interesting to see how he and Dinwiddie share ball-handling duties off the bench.