City Sports Report

Brooklyn Nets hit another low note in loss to Jazz

Deron+Williams+Chicago+Bulls+v+Brooklyn+Nets+ruorOca39jgl

By Jason Schott – @JESchott19

The Brooklyn Nets suffered another very disappointing loss on Sunday night at Barclays Center, falling to the Utah Jazz, 95-88. This was the Nets’ third loss in four games on this homestand, and the remarkable thing is the one win came against the Golden State Warriors, best team in the mighty Western Conference.

As with most Nets games, the fourth quarter said it all. They trailed 66-63 after three quarters, and were led by Thaddeus Young with 14 points, Bojan Bogdanovic with 11, Brook Lopez with 10, and Joe Johnson with 7.

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins left Young, Lopez, and Johnson on the bench, and started the fourth with Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack, Alan Anderson, Mason Plumlee, and Cory Jefferson, all bench players.

As if on cue, Elijah Millsap blew right by Bogdanovic, who is a hideous defender, for a layup to start the fourth and then hit a three in which Bogey was late to cover him to give Utah a 71-65 lead.

After Rodney Hood made a three to make it 74-65 Jazz, Hollins finally did the sensible thing and brought back Lopez and Johnson. They did the job, as Johnson got a jumper and Brook scored six points, including a dunk to make it 78-77 with 5:22 left.

Lopez was fouled on that play, and he went to the line to tie it. The shot rimmed out and in many ways that sapped the Nets’ spirit, as Utah responded with a 10-0 run, with five points from Gordon Hayward and four points from ex-Net Derrick Favors.

Hayward said of being the player that gave Utah that turn in momentum, “I think when Coach (Quin Snyder) puts me back in and the game is close, the mindset is to close the game out and so I got a good look at it and was able to knock it down. (Derrick Favors) was huge down the stretch. He hit that jump shot and knocked down free throws, so I think that’s what you need from two of your veteran leaders, to make sure you close out the game the right way.”

The Nets broke the scoreless streak when Lopez hit one of two free throws at the 3:10 mark to make it 88-78 Jazz. Thaddeus Young got a layup with 2:15 left to cut it to eight, at 88-80. Hayward got back to the line soon after and buried two free throws to make it a 10-point game again, 90-80.

What followed was a play symbolic of the state of the team. Jarrett Jack brought the ball up very slowly, mystifying considering they were down 10. When the shot clock hit ‘5,’ he passed it to Williams, who was open at the three-point line at the side. It went off Williams’ hands out of bounds with 1:43 left, and that brought the boo birds out.

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said of the Jazz run at the end of the game, “turnovers and missed shots and no defense. It was very obvious. You can’t turn the ball over, you’ve got to score, and you’ve got to defend, and you got to rebound.”

Hollins acted very subdued in the postgame, a lot calmer than one would expect after a loss like this. He was laughing and smiling and sipped water in an interesting manner as one question was being asked.

On the 11 second half turnovers the Nets committed and the reasons for the loss, Hollins said, “Turnovers and missed opportunities. We had a lot of plays around the basket. Somebody missed a shot, we’d have a clean tip-in, miss the tip-in and all of a sudden, they’d get the ball. Or we’d pass it off to somebody and they didn’t handle the ball cleanly. And then Utah did a great job of controlling the pace. We’d been scoring a lot of points but they were most times down the court shooting under 10 (seconds) on their offense, even under seven. They executed and made plays when they had to. When you look at the number, we are 50-53 (referring to overall shooting percentage/three-point shooting) and we go 36 percent on 11 free throws. That doesn’t help. Then we get outrebounded 43 to 30, 12 offensive rebounds and then 15 second chance for them. That was a big part of the game for them.”

Hollins said of not being able to close out games this week, “Well, I know we’ve played well all year on the road. And I know we’ve played poorly all year long at home and it hasn’t changed. That’s the way I see it.”

Brook Lopez touched on many similar points as Hollins did, and he said of what he would attribute the last two losses to, “I think we’re doing a lot of it to ourselves. Tonight we turned the ball over a lot and we allowed a lot of second-chance points.”

Lopez said of why the Nets have struggled at home more than the road, “I don’t know. It’s definitely backed up our record, and you can see it tonight. It’s something we’ve got to figure out. We’ve got to get back out to go out on to the court and do something.”

On what it was like to hear the Barclays Center crowd booing at the end, Lopez said, “We’ve underperformed. They expect better from us and have high expectations and we need to meet those. And I think we, ourselves, in this locker room, have even higher expectations.”

Lopez said of the way the team has played, “Yeah, like I said, it really feels like we’ve beaten ourselves, these last few. This whole season’s been a lot of ups and downs. It feels like we’re figuring it out before it kind of falls out from under us, but we can’t quit. We’ve got to keep going.”

The playoff picture keeps looking bleaker for the Nets. They fell to 25-36 and are still tied for tenth with the Boston Celtics, who suffered a bad loss in Orlando to the Magic, 103-98. The Charlotte Hornets beat Detroit 108-101 to improve to 28-33, passing the Miami Heat for eighth place and taking a three-game lead over the Nets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>