Nets blow a 22-point lead in loss to the Pelicans

Paul Pierce and the Nets ran out of gas on Monday night as they lost in overtime to the Pelicans after having a 22-point lead in the third quarter. AP Photo.

Paul Pierce and the Nets ran out of gas on Monday night as they lost in overtime to the Pelicans after having a 22-point lead in the third quarter. AP Photo.

The Brooklyn Nets had a 22-point lead over the New Orleans Pelicans with 10:02 left to play in the third quarter, but suffered a monumental collapse as they lost 109-104 in overtime. The loss snapped a four game winning streak and dropped the Nets to two games behind the Toronto Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Paul Pierce had an impressive game with 24 points, Deron Williams had 23 with eight rebounds and five assists, but Joe Johnson struggled and the team shot just 36.7 percent overall. The team looked completely over-matched late in the game as fatigue may have been an issue in the second half of back-to-backs. Not having Andrei Kirilenko, out with an ankle injury, and Kevin Garnett, who missed his 13th game with back spasms, also hurt.

The Nets started off this game well with eight points each from Pierce and Shaun Livingston in the first quarter when they led by six. It was Pierce again in the second quarter along with Andray Blatche as the Nets built up a 16-point lead at halftime. After Johnson hit a pair from the line to go up by 22 early in the third it was all downhill from there.

The team shot just 29.4 percent in the third quarter including an 0-for-4 from Livingston and no points at all from the bench. They desperately needed that bench to step up in the fourth with the starters out of gas, but got just one field goal each from Blatche and Mirza Teletovic and zeroes from everyone else.

Meanwhile, the Nets didn’t have an answer for Tyreke Evans, who finished with 33 points on 13-for-19 from the floor. Anthony Davis also dominated with 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. When two players are doing that to a team and the Nets are shooting so poorly it’s the perfect storm for a complete meltdown which is what happened.

The Nets finish up this mini-road trip with a game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday and then head back to Brooklyn for a three-game stint that will include games against the Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Rockets.