Nets come up way too short in New Orleans
Size and Strength of Pelicans Leads to Ugly Loss in The Big Easy
New Orleans forward DeMarcus Cousins felt like he was playing with the Harlem Globetrotters on Wednesday night.
That would place the Brooklyn Nets in the role of the Washington Generals.
You know, the team that hopelessly follows the Globetrotters around the court like a dog chasing its tail.
“We just did not have the defensive mentality and defensive discipline to get stops. They are a potent offensive team,” frustrated Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said after his team’s embarrassing effort in a 128-113 loss to the Pelicans in front of 16,707 fans at the Smoothie King Center.
Potency is something the Nets (12-22) have been lacking for weeks now as they fell to 1-7 in their last eight games, including 0-3 on this ongoing five-game road trip that continues Friday night in Miami.
The Pelicans, however, weren’t lacking for anything Wednesday as Cousins poured in 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Anthony Davis dominated the Nets with 33 points and 11 boards and Rajon Rondo handed out a franchise-record 25 assists.
“We looked like the Harlem Globetrotters at one point,” Cousins noted. “It’s fun to play that way.”
Not for the Nets it’s not.
“We should have more resiliency, more understanding of the situation,” Atkinson insisted. “Sure, they are a big team, but you can negate that with your activity. You can negate that by denying passes, by getting deflections.”
Or simply getting out of town with your sixth straight loss in the second half of back-to-backs.
Brooklyn, which fell to 5-12 on the road this season, hasn’t won the second game when playing on consecutive nights since an exhilarating 112-107 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 25.
Remember that night? You should. It marked the last time the Nets, then 3-2, would climb above the .500 mark in what certainly appears to be a third consecutive non-playoff campaign.
Caris LeVert led Brooklyn in scoring for a second straight game with 22 points and Nik Stauskas added 21 for the Nets, who are still waiting for starting point guard D’Angelo Russel to return from a knee injury and newly acquired center Jahlil Okafor to get into game shape.
Regardless of being undersized and undermanned against a talented and versatile New Orleans squad, the Nets need to find a way to stop the bleeding soon if they hope to avoid challenging for the worst record in the NBA for a second straight year.
“What I have learned in my four years in the league is when you are out there, you have to compete,” said Stauskas.
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