The Brooklyn Nets visited the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on Friday and won 108-102. This is the second and final matchup between the two teams this season.
For the Nets, Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds while Kyrie Irving had 19 points and five assists. TJ Warren had 15 points and Royce O’Neale had 14.
For the Pelicans, CJ McCollum had 28 points and six assists while Naji Marshall had 23 points and nine rebounds. Jose Alvarado had 17 points off the bench and Jonas Valanciunas had 12.
Brooklyn did not start this game with much energy. Even though they were down only one point at the end of the first quarter, one could see that the Nets were going through the motions to begin this game. Brooklyn wasn’t getting many offensive rebounds and it led to the Pelicans getting out in transition and scoring points in bunches.
In the second half, the Nets began to match the intensity of the Pelicans. Despite New Orleans missing Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, they fought hard and actually didn’t do much wrong in this game. Durant and Irving struggled from the field, but in the end, they made the shots necessary to pull out this win.
Here are your Nets player grades:
Ben Simmons: B-
Simmons was not terribly involved in this game in terms of shooting the ball. He didn’t force any shots, but he didn’t force the issue either. However, he had a great night passing the ball as he had some highlight passes up the floor and to guys cutting to the rim. He did a little bit of everything in this game as he did a solid job of helping rebound the ball and he played some good perimeter defense. Should be shooting the ball more though.
Kyrie Irving: B-
Irving struggled mightily from the field all night long. He was getting decent looks, but was unable to cash on most of them as the Pelicans played intense defense all game long. Irving really struggled with his three-point shot. He did have trouble finishing at the rim as well, but he did a decent job rebounding. Irving was unable to stay in front of McCollum or Alvarado for large portions of this game.
Kevin Durant: B
Durant struggled to be efficient from the field all game long. Despite getting a lot of good looks and some looks that he gets every night, Durant just wasn’t able to be consistent shooting the ball, except from three. He was able to get to the free-throw line with regularity as he was in attack mode throughout the game. Durant was great on the glass and with protecting the rim. He did a decent job of passing the ball as he spent most of the game trying to score.
Royce O'Neale: A
O’Neale had a good comeback game after his rough performance against the Chicago Bulls. In this game, he didn’t get many shots, but he made most of the shots that came his way, especially from behind the three-point line. He did a good job on the boards and was solid on defense by blocking some shots.
Nic Claxton: A
After a slow first half, Claxton really got going on both ends of the floor. He got into foul trouble early as he struggled to guard Valanciunas, but as the game progressed, Claxton did not have to do as much guarding of Valanciunas thanks to the Nets helping out in the paint more. Claxton did a great job rebounding despite the size disadvantage and he was awesome in protecting the rim. He also had a few nice passes in this game to show how he has improved in that area.
Seth Curry: C+
Curry had his struggles from the field in this game too. He shot well from three-point land, but he struggled from the field overall as he was unable to create much space on his mid-range shots. He had a nice finish at the rim, but, other than that, he could not make much else happen on offense. He had a decent night passing the ball and played some okay defense when he was able to not be called for fouls.
TJ Warren: B+
Warren did a great job scoring the basketball in this game. As he has done all season, he worked his mid-range game to perfection and was able to draw some fouls as well. Whenever Brooklyn needed a bucket that Durant couldn’t provide, Warren was there to make the play. Warren played decent defense in this game, but was unable to defend the dribble much in this game.
Yuta Watanabe: C-
Watanabe did not play much in this game as he was unable to provide much on either end of the floor. He did not make any mistakes, but he did not provide enough of a premium in any way so Jacque Vaughn went in a different direction with Warren and Curry.
Joe Harris: D
Harris did not do much on offense in this game. He barely shot the ball and it looked like he wasn’t looking for his shot at all. The Pelicans made an effort to close out to him at the three-point line, but he was unable to take advantage of those overplays. He did a decent job rebounding, but did not do much else outside of that.