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Pelicans totally dominated by Nets, lose 139-111 in Kevin Durant’s return

Zion Williamson’s 20-point consecutive streak came to an end

New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans lost for the fourth time in the last five games, this time falling to the Eastern Conference’s top team, the Brooklyn Nets, 139-111.

Eric Bledsoe was the Pels’ leading scorer with 26 points, his first game with at least 20 points in two months.

Zion Williamson added 16 points in 23 minutes, but finished 4-12 from the field, ending his streak of 25-point games, and games shooting above 60 percent. He did keep one streak going though.

Lonzo Ball added 15 points, with Isaiah Thomas and Jaxson Hayes both scoring 11. Hayes has reached double figures for the fifth consecutive game, the longest streak of his young career.

Playing without James Harden, Brooklyn had no problem putting points on the board.

The Nets had seven players reach double digits, and 12 of 13 Brooklyn players shot 50 percent or better from the field.

Kyrie Irving had 24 points for Brooklyn, with recent addition LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 22. Kevin Durant played his first game for the Nets since February and scored 17 points on perfect 5-5 shooting.

New Orleans was consistent with another solid opening quarter. The game was tied at 33 as the first period was coming to a close when Blake Griffin hit a buzzer-beating three to make it 36-33 after 12 minutes. The game never got any closer from that point.

Over the second and third quarter, the Nets showed why they are one of the favorites to win the NBA championship.

Brooklyn simply overwhelmed the Pelicans offensively, making 28-of-38 shots, including 12-of-18 from beyond the three-point line.

For the game, the Pels allowed 55 percent shooting and gave up 19 made threes. The latter number putting the franchise within distance of another dubious league mark.

The Nets, not known for their defense, were engaged on that end throughout the game, knowing that the Pelicans were limited in their options on the offensive end.

New Orleans was once again beaten across the board, outscored in the paint and on the perimeter.

“We got dominated at both ends of the floor. Totally dominated,” Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We couldn’t get out to the 3-point line. Our defense was absurd. They totally dominated us.”

That about wraps it up. And, with only 21 games remaining in the regular season, the Pelicans chances of making a legitimate playoff push become more and more remote.

There are still positives to pull out of each game, but more often than not, wins are not among them. How much longer before the Pelicans shift their focus from the postseason to the offseason?

New Orleans will try to hold off the answer to that question on Friday when the Pelicans host the Philadelphia 76ers.

Good luck with that.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @DMGrubb.