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Nets try to slow host Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are off to a 3-0 start as the highest-scoring team in the NBA.

But coach Alvin Gentry would like to see a little more balance between his team's offense and its defense, beginning with a home game against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

"Somewhere along the line they have to come to a state of equilibrium where they're both pretty good," Gentry said after practice Thursday.

New Orleans took a step in that direction in a 116-109 victory against the Clippers on Wednesday. In their first two games, the Pelicans had outscored the Rockets, 131-112, and the Kings, 149-129.

"The first two games we got out and ran," guard Jrue Holiday said, "but we're going to have games throughout the season where we're going to have to tough it out at the end.

"It's always easy when you have a bad shooting night to let things go down by the wayside, but I think we really locked in defensively, especially on their key guys."

New Orleans shot just 43 percent from the field, but it still leads the league with a 51.7 field-goal percentage.

"It wasn't so much the pace as it was the decisions we were making," Gentry said. "I thought our shot selection was questionable. We want to play with pace, but we want to make sure our shot selection is good too. We've got to make sure that we're taking shots that we're very capable of making."

The Nets (2-2) received a boost when Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Shabazz Napier made their season debuts in a 102-86 victory at Cleveland on Wednesday.

D'Angelo Russell led six Brooklyn players in double figures with 18 points, Joe Harris scored 16, Jared Dudley had 12 and Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and Ed Davis had 10 each.

Jefferson, who had been out because of a hip injury and the birth of his first child, scored seven points in 17 minutes and Napier, who had been out because of a strained right hamstring, scored eight points in 11 minutes.

"Shabazz is a guy that pressures the ball and gets after it," coach Kenny Atkinson told the New York Post. "He has a confidence about him. You feel it out there. This guy has played in big games.

"Rondae, for a guy who's been out that long, was pretty darn good defensively. He made a few mistakes offensively, but he really helps our defense. We threw him out there at a point where we were switching everything. He can guard (different types of players). Those guys are invaluable in today's NBA."

Napier made two of the Nets' 14 3-pointers and added two steals. Hollis-Jefferson made just 3-of-10 shots, but he added eight rebounds.

"It felt real good to get back out there and compete with my brothers," Hollis-Jefferson told the Post. "My energy level was good; just making the simple plays defensively. Your rhythm offensively may not be there, you may miss some shots, but just keep rebounding, keep playing defense. I feel like I did a solid job."

Updated October 25, 2018

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