The Nets were up seven with two minutes left on the night of Oct. 26 in New Orleans. But nothing went smoothly for them at Smoothie King Center from there.
The Pelicans scored nine and the Nets didn’t score again, missing two threes and committing three turnovers. D’Angelo Russell committed a big one on a pass with 7.5 seconds left when the Nets were still up one and just trying to kill the clock. That led to the go-ahead jumper by Jrue Holiday with three seconds to go.
Holiday’s basket made it 116-115. The Nets called for time and Ed Davis got called for a technical after shoving Solomon Hill away from their huddle. Holiday hit the free throw, and Joe Harris committed a turnover on the final inbounds pass.
So the Nets came from ahead to lose, 117-115, a brutal collapse and perhaps their worst defeat so far this season.
“I’m pretty sure Coach [Kenny Atkinson] will bring us back to that moment, how we felt after the game, you know, that [bad] feeling?” Davis said. “. . . We had it; we gave it away. So we definitely need this one back on Wednesday.”
That was Game 5 for them. Now they’re up to Game 39. It will be a rematch Wednesday night at Barclays Center: Nets-Pelicans II.
“That’s the type that sticks with you in the offseason,” Atkinson said of the October loss after Monday’s practice at HSS Training Center. “That’s one of the games we should’ve closed out. We made a few mistakes at the end; played a really good basketball game.
“So there’s no revenge or anything. They’re a really good team fighting for their playoff lives . . . Obviously, after our two losses, you don’t want to go on a three, four, five-game losing streak. And our schedule is pretty tough after that. So it’s an important game for us.”
The Nets are 17-21, just like New Orleans. Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe are injured and not available this time.
“It was definitely a tough ending,” Russell said, “but also we can build on it knowing that we can play with those guys and we can finish those games out.”
They definitely need to contain Anthony Davis again. The 6-10 forward/center is probable after missing Monday night’s win over Minnesota with a gastrointestinal illness. The Nets held him to 18, including 6-for-19 shooting in October. He’s averaging 28.5, plus 13 rebounds.
Atkinson said they “need to throw different looks at him.” Jarrett Allen is ready.
“I like the challenge,” Allen said. “He’s not really a bruiser. He’s really a skilled player. So I’m looking forward to testing my defense against him.”