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Nets win 93-81; Pelicans were never close

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets jumped out to an 11-0 lead five minutes into the first and never looked back, cruising as the Pelicans failed to mount a coherent team offense. From an objective point of view, the story of the night had to be the extraordinary performance of Mason Plumlee, the incompetent younger brother of Miles Plumlee. The free Mason was incredible in the second quarter as the Nets opened up a lead that consistently sat in the mid-20s. He posterized Luke Babbitt and made a great block against a dunking Jeff WIthey. He finished with what I'm just going to assume is his first career double-double, with 22 points and 13 rebounds on just 10 shots. I'm sure you can look up highlights from his evening on the interwebs - I refuse to link to them out of sheer self-pity.

The Pelicans' biggest problem was certainly on the offense, where stagnation doomed the Pelicans to isolation drives by Rivers and Gordon late in the shot clock far too often. The Pelicans took a plethora of not particularly open mid-range jumpers that never seemed to fall - in fact, I believe New Orleans only made one jump shot in the entire first half en route to scoring just 28 points at intermission. The Pelicans failed to get the ball to Anthony Davis with any regularity. In the end, the Pelicans barely eked out a field goal percentage above 30% while letting Brooklyn score at an over 50% clip.

Free throws were another interesting factor in the game - the Pelicans got the the stripe with alacrity in the first half. With a few minutes to go to the first half, the Pelicans had twelve free throw attempts to the Nets' two. Down the stretch, though, the free-throw disparity reversed itself. By the end of the game, New Orleans had attempted 27 free throws to Brooklyn's 29. More alarmingly, the Pelicans only made 15 of their 26 attempts. The recently lights-out Austin Rivers made only 4 of 7 free throws.

  • It's tough to glean anything of significance from this game since the Nets played their starters so little - Garnett played only 13 minutes, Pierce merely 17, and most of the rest in the low 20s.
  • The size of Deron Williams really gave Roberts fits defensively - Rivers was able to do a lot better defensively. I liked what Rivers did offensively, as well - he was able to get into the lane and cause the Brooklyn defense to distort. He wasn't really able to convert, though, going only 3-10 with 5 assists alongside the aforementioned free throw woes.
  • Anthony Davis had another solid game - in the first half, he had a great play where he was isolated on Deron Williams (I believe), was completely faked out on a devastating crossover, recovered quickly, blocked Williams's shot, and then ran down the court and received the outlet for an easy transition dunk. We're really spoiled by getting to root for this guy.
  • Darius Miller and Jeff Withey got to play a good number of minutes in garbage time. Neither impressed.
  • Eric Gordon was putrid - dribbling at length without moving the ball, driving with nowhere to go, jacking up bad shots. His stat line reflected it, as did the fact that he didn't play all that much down the stretch.
  • Somehow, Alexis Ajinca picked up 4 fouls in just 11 minutes.