Nets trying to find form entering clash with Pelicans

NBA

When adding several new players, teams often require several games to develop some consistent chemistry, and the Brooklyn Nets are finding that out through their first six games of the season.

After blowing a 14-point lead on the road in the second contest of their first back-to-back set of the season, the Nets return home to face the struggling New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

The Nets are 2-4 even with Kyrie Irving averaging 30.5 points per game, and their two wins have highlighted some of those inconsistencies.

Brooklyn’s first win was a 113-109 victory over the New York Knicks on Oct. 25 that required a go-ahead jumper by Irving down the stretch after Brooklyn held a 19-point lead. The second win was Friday’s 123-116 win over Houston, when the Nets overcame 11 turnovers in the first quarter and a 15-point deficit.

The four losses are by a combined 16 points, and on Saturday, the Nets appeared in control against the Detroit Pistons before folding and absorbing a 113-109 loss. The Nets held a 66-52 lead with 7:10 to play in the third quarter but allowed a 26-6 run to end the third and were outscored 61-43 the rest of the way.

“We’re getting at that point,” Irving said. “Certain spurts in the game, I feel like we can have just a little bit more consistency, and also it’s me keeping my foot on the gas pedal, staying offensively aggressive and then, defensively, just being in the right spot.”

Irving posted his third career triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He was 8 of 21 from the floor and 3 of 11 before nearly leading the Nets back in the fourth.

Brooklyn’s inconsistencies are also highlighted in some of its scoring numbers. The Nets are amongst the league’s highest-scoring teams at 118.7 points per game but are averaging only 25.7 points in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans is also adjusting to some new faces, but unlike the Nets, it’s after trading an All-Star. The Pelicans are 1-5 so far as they incorporate players they acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers for Anthony Davis.

Brandon Ingram, one of those acquired from the Lakers, is leading New Orleans with 23.5 points per game but could miss Monday’s game. Ingram exited Saturday’s 115-104 loss in Oklahoma City with a head injury and did not return after halftime.

Ingram joined Zion Williamson (right knee) on the sidelines, and the Pelicans were also without Derrick Favors (sore right knee). Favors missed his third straight game with the injury, and if he does not play Monday, Jahlil Okafor likely will be the starting center for the third straight game.

Okafor, who played 26 games for the Nets two seasons ago, is averaging 10.8 points and scored 15 points Saturday after totaling 26 in Thursday’s win over the Denver Nuggets.

Regardless of who plays, the Pelicans are hoping to be better down the stretch. They shot 33.3 percent (8 of 24) and committed six of their 16 turnovers in the final 12 minutes on Saturday.

“You just can’t survive that, especially on the road,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We’ve got to do a much better job (of) protecting the ball. We’ve got to do a better job of getting back and getting our defense set. And then we’ve got to do a better job of executing down the stretch. We didn’t do those things.”

New Orleans is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings with the Nets.

–Field Level Media

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