Brandon Ingram had the best game of his career. The New Orleans Pelicans had the best quarter in their history.
Somehow, the Brooklyn Nets found a way to win on a night when the hits kept on coming.
“We took a combination, a haymaker, however you want to call it, couple [of] left hooks in the jaw in the third quarter, and I thought in the fourth quarter we did a better job and slowed them down a little,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
Kyrie Irving on Monday had 39 points and nine assists as Brooklyn withstood Ingram’s career-high 40 points to beat the Pelicans 135-125.
The Nets had 67 points at halftime and a 20-point lead in the third quarter, but could never get comfortable until the final minute as Ingram kept coming at them.
He shot 17 of 24 from the field in his first 40-point game as the Pelicans scored a franchise-record 48 points in the third quarter.
They got within two in the fourth, but could never get enough stops to catch the Nets.
“I just felt like I was in rhythm. Still missed some layups. Still missed some threes. I could have [done] better,” Ingram said.
Caris LeVert added 23 points and Joe Harris had 19, while Jarrett Allen finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, who embark on a five-game road trip, their longest of the season, with the first four in the west.
“We obviously wanted to come out and win this game, and really put a statement down for the rest of the week before we go on this long trip, so it was good,” Irving said.
Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball each scored 15 points, while Josh Hart had 14 for the Pelicans, who fell to 1-6.
Brooklyn led by only two after Ingram’s three-pointer with 4 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the first half, but the Nets scored 10 straight. Five of them came in one trip when Allen made two free throws after being flagrantly fouled by Ingram — he made the shot while being thrown to the ground, but the foul had been called on the floor — and Garrett Temple made a three-pointer after Brooklyn retained possession.
Brooklyn later got consecutive jumpers by Irving and a dunk from Spencer Dinwiddie to close a 20-3 run and make it 63-44.
Irving scored 18 points in the third, but the Pelicans were a sizzling eight of 11 from three-point range and scored 48 points, trimming a 20-point deficit to 104-98 heading to the fourth.
“We decided to play 20 minutes in a 48-minute game and that doesn’t work out. At least it hasn’t in the 31 years I’ve been in the NBA,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
Elsewhere, the Suns sank the 76ers 114-109, the Warriors tamed the Trail Blazers 127-118, the Rockets grounded the Grizzlies 107-100, the Bucks 134 thrashed the Timberwolves 134-106 and the Wizards pummeled the Pistons 115-99.
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