NEW ORLEANS - Paul Pierce tried to warn his Brooklyn Nets teammates, tried to tell them that Sunday night's sensational comeback win over the Mavs in Dallas was but one game, that they needed to be consistent because the playoffs are coming.
For the better part of three quarters the Nets seemed to be listening.
But then they turned a deaf ear and suffered a screamingly bad loss that could cost them the Atlantic Division title.
The Nets blew a 22-point lead and lost to the lowly Pelicans 109-104 in overtime in Smoothie King Center.
As terrific as Sunday night's rally was from 14 down to beat the Mavs 107-104 in OT, this loss was more disheartening than that win was uplifting.
The Nets had control and had a chance to get to within a single game of the Toronto Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Instead they trail by two with 13 games to go.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak that had lifted the Nets to a season-high six games over .500. They are 37-32 with a tough road game at Charlotte on Wednesday night.
The Pelicans (30-40) have no chance of making the playoffs but they played with playoff tenacity.
"This is just one, though,'' Pierce said after the Dallas win. "This is just one. This was a gritty game, a playoff-type win. And I tried to tell those guys: the toughest thing now is we have a back-to-back. We've struggled in back-to-backs.''
"We can't be overly excited about one win. We can't have high emotions one night and have an emotional letdown the next. We have to come with the same attitude every game because that's what it's going to take in the playoffs."
The Nets will make the playoffs. But if they don't win the division, this will be the game that haunts them. Pierce led with 24 points. Deron Williams added 23 points.
NOTES: Andrei Kirilenko (sprained left ankle) did not play. Marcus Thornton left the game with a lower back injury and did not return.