Nets lose season opener to Pelicans, 130-108, as Ben Simmons fouls out with 4 points in debut

Things didn’t move as deliberate. The Brooklyn Nets were given walloped in the season opener, 130-108, through the New Orleans Pelicans in spite of Kevin Durant’s 32 points on simply 21 pictures.

“I talked about the other day, just us being tested and us being challenged,” stated Kyrie Irving after the loss. “And this is going to be a familiar theme throughout the year, and that’s to consistently play with a competitive spirit without us talking about it all the time. And I don’t want to sit in this seat after every game saying, ‘We should have done this, we should have done that.’ Like, this is a grown man league and the most physical team wins.”

Meanwhile, the Pelicans’ large 3 of CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram stole the display, pilling on 74 blended points en direction to the blowout win.

Brooklyn in the meantime were given simply 17 blended points from Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving. Simmons was once specifically disappointing, recording extra fouls (6) than points (4) in his Nets debut.

“I was just too excited, honestly,” stated Simmons about fouling out of his debut. (*4*)

Outside of the celebrities (or megastar, in reality), Brooklyn were given some great stuff from Patty Mills off the bench, who dropped 16 points on 5-of-10 capturing and 4-of-9 from 3. The remainder of Brooklyn’s bench was once no longer so prolific, mustering simply 7 blended points jointly.

Rebounding was once Brooklyn’s Achilles heel on Wednesday, with the Pelicans out-boarding the Nets 61-39. Many of the ones second-chance alternatives led to three-pointers for New Orleans, who shot 46.2% from deep. Brooklyn, in the meantime, couldn’t in finding any consistency from distance at simply 30.3%, and the Pelicans used this towards them through crowding the paint and smothering Brooklyn’s lead creators with more than one defenders.

“We’re not the biggest team, we’re not gonna lead the league in rebounds,” stated Steve Nash after the sport. “But there’s still a level of understanding that that’s a weakness for us. We’ve talked about it every day. We have to come back, double-team on the glass, and flood it. That’s a part of just being competitive, being aware, and understanding what our weaknesses are and trying to combat them from the start.”

In standard Nets style, the onslaught started with a sluggish get started, as the Nets neglected their first 3 pictures. Ben Simmons broke the scoring drought with the primary Nets level of the season after a Pelicans turnover. A couple of Zion Williamson buckets on the rim compelled an early timeout from Steve Nash after an early 11-2 deficit.

“You could see that, you know, obviously how physically is and how difficult it is to keep off your rim and off the offensive glass. So it looks like he’s healthy and playing very well again,” stated Nash about Zion after the sport.

The lead best expanded after 3 instantly turnovers from the Nets—one from Kevin Durant dribbling right into a crowd, one from Ben Simmons on a failed alley-oop, and one from Royce O’Neale on a rate—rising New Orleans’ lead to 16.

Then, 3 instantly steals through Royce O’Neale gotten smaller that deficit to simply 12, and the Pellies had been compelled to name timeout. The wheels fell off for Brooklyn as the Pelicans as soon as once more grew their benefit to 18 to shut out the primary quarter.

Brooklyn were given issues again heading in the right direction in the second one quarter, starting with a very good go from Ben Simmons to Nic Claxton in the quick roll and a nook 3 from Markieff Morris. However, the Pelicans endured to pile it on with their two scorers, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, splashing jumpers in the quick midrange. Meanwhile, the Nets endured to fail to get a rhythm as its spacing restricted halfcourt alternatives.

Fortunately, the Nets completed the quarter sturdy when Nic Claxton—the one antidote to the unstoppable pressure that was once Zion Williamson—used his spectacular 7’2” wingspan to pin Zion’s layup to the glass, main to a Kevin Durant 3 at the different finish. Behind some absurd shotmaking from Durant, who had 21 in the part, the Nets had been in a position to whittle the deficit down to 8 to finish the part, 58-50.

Oh, and KD did this…

Both groups went backward and forward to get started the 3rd quarter; Kevin Durant hit a jumper plus the foul over Williamson on one finish, and CJ McCollum splashed a three-point jumper when the Nets double-teamed Jonas Valanciunas.

Then, Zion took over, shedding in two overpowering layups. The Pelicans’ lead best grew when Trey Murphy III canned a deep 3 and Brandon Ingram nailed a fadeaway plus the foul over Kevin Durant after which every other 3 off an offensive rebound. Suddenly, the Nets had been gazing a 25-point deficit in the face with 4 mins to spare in the 3rd. The Nets completed the quarter down 98-78.

The fourth quarter was once extra of the similar, with the Nets in the end waiving the white flag on the 4:30 mark. And that was once all she wrote. A 22-point blowout loss and a 0-1 get started to the season with a tricky opponent, the Toronto Raptors, headed to Brooklyn on Friday.

Nets no longer nervous about Simmons’ sluggish get started

Though Ben Simmons’ debut didn’t precisely get off heading in the right direction, his teammates and head trainer didn’t seem specifically nervous about their megastar jack-of-all-tradesman.

Steve Nash attributed the 4-point appearing to “rust,” mentioning Simmons’ 486-day layoff from legislation basketball.

“I just think he’s rusty. The guy hasn’t played for over a year—still getting used to referees, defense, offense. This is a process,” defined Nash. “You guys have heard me say it, however he’s proven clearly glimpses of the participant we all know he’s and can also be but it surely’s no longer simple. We’re right here to toughen him, we’re right here to push him, trainer him up, and take a look at to get him to a spot the place he can play on the degree he’s performed in the previous. It’s all there for him.

“I mean, I think that you see those glimpses throughout the preseason, but now putting it together, really getting his legs under him, his rhythm, and then assimilating to a new group—there’s a lot on his plate. As long as he continues to build his confidence, play hard, and play with force, we’re fine with him making mistakes as he grows into this.”

Kyrie Irving, in the meantime, was once in a similar fashion encouraging, however he additionally introduced a extra surly tone. Namely, he discussed that the Nets had a dialog with Ben in the locker room to set the usual for what’s anticipated from him as one of the crucial stars at the workforce.

“He’s just gotta get reps and minutes. I think it’s as simple as that,” stated Kyrie Irving about what’s wanted for Simmons. “We told him in the locker room, he is a valuable piece for us and we need him out there. And fouling out is not an option.”

Kevin Durant’s reaction to Ben Simmons’ debut may just very best be described in a technique: unbothered.

“We all don’t have great games, it’s just the nature of our job. It’s all about bouncing back and showing up to work tomorrow and figuring it out,” stated Durant, bluntly.

The Film Room

So, clearly, Kevin Durant was once the megastar of the display right here.

But Nic Claxton confirmed some flashes we hadn’t observed from him up to now. For starters, as discussed above, he was once the one participant that would relatively tangle with Zion Williamson, who proved to be too overpowering for his number one defender, Ben Simmons. Though Nic Claxton doesn’t have the bruising physicality to dangle with Zion (does any individual?), he does convey a complete heepin’ lot of duration to extinguish home windows of alternative for the Pelicans megastar.

Nic’s block on Zion was once the catalyst to the mini-run to finish the primary part, and also you’ll understand how Clax first takes away the right-handed layup from Zion ahead of sliding over to Zion’s left to sit down at the spin transfer.

Nic’s completing via touch additionally confirmed main growth, a mirrored image of the added dimension he put in this summer time. Nic up to now estimated that he gathered anyplace between 7-to-10 kilos of mass, and that got here in at hand right here when he powered via this end on the rim. Also, heck of a dime from Cam Thomas, who continues to display average enlargement as a playmaker after some spectacular moments in the preseason!

And then, the principle direction: Clax’s masterful power and end via touch. We’ve heard about Claxton’s level guard background since his rookie season, and in the second one quarter, he flashed that skillset. He faked the go to Kevin Durant, drove to the cup when the protection shifted over towards the Nets’ megastar, after which had himself every other superior end via touch to whole the play.

13 points on just about best possible capturing (6-of-7), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a thieve is moderately the way in which to observe up a profitable summer time in which the Nets invested $20 million in him to be their heart of the long run.

As Sponge Bob Square Pants would possibly say…

What’s subsequent

The Nets get to keep house for the second one recreation of the common season, webhosting the pesky Toronto Raptors. Tip-off starts at 7:30 PM, EST, and you’ll watch the sport on YES Network.

For a special point of view, head to Raptors HQ, our Toronto Raptors sister website.

Leave a Comment