Nets bring loads of firepower vs. 1-win Pelicans
The Brooklyn Nets have won six of their last seven games. The New Orleans Pelicans have lost eight games in a row.
Friday night’s contest will be one of the biggest mismatches on paper in the NBA when the Nets visit the one-win Pelicans.
The Nets bounced back from their only recent loss, at Chicago on Monday, and routed the Magic 123-90 on Wednesday night in Orlando.
“We just wanted to come back and get that bad taste out of our mouth,” said James Harden, who had a triple-double (17 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) against the Magic. “That (second) unit did an unbelievable job — a great effort in a bounce-back win.”
The Brooklyn bench scored 59 points, led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 21. The Nets were able to rest Harden and Kevin Durant (30 points), who made 11 of 12 field-goal attempts after taking a 94-75 lead after three quarters.
Harden called Aldridge “a true professional.”
“He basically retired last year and had the confidence to come back,” Harden said, “and he’s doing it all for us.”
Aldridge scored 10 of his points in the first half as the Nets took the lead for good and held a 65-53 halftime advantage. They led by double figures the entire second half.
“I was glad (Aldridge) was able to come out and extend the lead for us, and win the game for us basically,” Durant said.
The Pelicans showed the mounting frustration of losing when they were called for five technical fouls in the second quarter of a 108-100 home loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Josh Hart was ejected after receiving two of the technicals.
Coach Willie Green was bothered more by his players’ actions that led to the technicals than he was by the officiating.
“Our guys thought they got fouled, and we didn’t get the call,” Green said. “However, we’re not going to get those calls. We haven’t earned them, so what are we complaining about?
“Until we earn it, we’re not going to get that. That’s the deal. I talked to our guys about it. We have to keep our composure. Our margin for error is too small to do what we did.”
Green said he was most frustrated by the players’ approach to the game.
“There were moments in the game where we had guys on the floor that just didn’t compete hard enough for me (and) hard enough for our team, and that’s a non-negotiable one for me,” he said. “I can’t have guys on the floor if they’re not going to give 110 percent.”
The Pelicans, who have yet to win at home, could get a boost if leading scorer Brandon Ingram is able to play against Brooklyn. Ingram has missed the last six games due to a hip contusion, but he practiced Thursday.
“We’re not going to give up,” center Jonas Valanciunas said. “We’re not going to stay home. Win or lose, we’re going to fight again until this thing’s going to turn over. We’re going to keep believing it, we’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep doing what we do.”