Oh no, NOLA! Nets Lose in OT
By Jason Schott - @JESchott19
The Nets suffered one of their toughest losses of the season on Monday night, as they lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 109-104 in overtime. The Nets remain two games behind Toronto in the race for the Atlantic Division title.
The Nets started their three-game road trip on a high note, winning in overtime in Dallas on Sunday night, and the momentum from that game carried into this one. The Nets dominated the first half, and led 58-42 at halftime.
They built that lead up to 22, at 66-44, a couple minutes into the third quarter when Joe Johnson capped an 8-2 run with two free throws.
Over the next five minutes, New Orleans went on a 17-1 run, and cut the Nets' lead to 67-61. Soon after, Johnson hit a three to make it 74-61 Nets, but they were not back in control by any means. On New Orleans' ensuing possession, their forward Alexis Ajinca was called for an offensive foul for elbowing Paul Pierce in the face. Pierce followed Ajinca back up the court, yelling at him and letting him know that will not be tolerated. The referee stopped Pierce before he could get to him. Pierce was given a technical foul for his actions.
Tyreke Evans had 14 points in the third quarter for the Pelicans, including a four-point play with one second left that cut the Nets' lead to just three, at 76-73.
All game, the pattern was that whenever New Orleans got close, the Nets would go on a run of their own and increase the lead. That happened at the outset of the fourth quarter when Mirza Teletovic had a three-point play to make it 84-75 Brooklyn. The Pelicans broke the pattern when they tied the game at 89 with 4:52 left on a Tyreke Evans layup, and Evans gave them the lead with another layup with 3:25 left.
The Nets' clutch performers were at it again, as Johnson tied the game at 93 with 1:46 left on a couple of free throws, and Paul Pierce tied it at 98 with a side three-pointer with 24.1 seconds left. The Pelicans had plenty of time to win it, but took too long setting a play up, leaving it to Anthony Morrow hoisting up a jumper with a second left that rimmed out.
The Pelicans owned the overtime as ex-Net Anthony Morrow hit two three-pointers, the second of which gave New Orleans a 109-102 lead with 54 seconds left.
Pierce, who looked like he was on a mission after the dustup in the third quarter, led the Nets with 24 points on 7-for-16 from the field and 4-for-11 from behind the arc, in 35 minutes. Deron Williams had 23 points (8-17 FG, 3-9 on 3-pt), 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in 41 minutes. Johnson had 15 points and shot just 4-for-14 from the field and 1-for-8 on three-pointers in 36 minutes. All three had very little left in the tank for overtime after having to play the extra session on Sunday night in Dallas as well. The rookie in the starting lineup, Mason Plumlee, had 6 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes.
The Nets conclude the short three-game trip on Wednesday against Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats.