Nets home woes continue against Bobcats

nets320_122608.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – We know one thing the Nets didn’t get for Christmas — an alarm clock.
 
The Nets waited until late in the third quarter before they realized they better start playing and found out once again that if they don’t play hard and smart from the beginning they can lose to anyone — even the East’s second-worst road team and the lowest-scoring team in the league.
 
This time it was the Charlotte Bobcats that came into the Izod Center and hand ed the Nets an embarrassing loss.
 
The final was 95-87, but it was embarrassing because the Nets let Larry Brown’s bunch shoot 50 percent from the field and build a 15-point lead before it kicked in that they were on their way to another double-digit home loss.
 
It was embarrassing because it’s a recurring theme. The Nets win tough, hard-fought games on the road. Show passion. Show fight. And then when they’re at home they barely show up.
 
Veteran forward Jarvis Hayes was asked if he thought teams were coming into the Meadowlands with extra confidence because of how poorly the Nets have played here.
 
“I would,” he said “if I see the energy we come out with at home, if I was the visiting team. That’s something we’ve got to change because more and more teams are going to come here with the same mindset if we don’t change our approach and pick up the energy level.”
 
The Nets have played 16 home games and have won five. Imagine if they had a decent home record, like 9-7 — they would have the fifth best record in the East.
 
Instead, they’re 14-15 and continue to be the only team with a winning road and losing home record. You have seen that in print before and probably will continue for a while since it will be a while before the Nets have a winning home record. They just have to hope they keep winning on the road.
 
“You get tired of losing altogether, whether it’s home or on the road,” Devin Harris said. “Things can be corrected. It’s not like it’s not in our control. That’s what the season is for – to get better.”
 
It used to be that the third quarter doomed the Nets in this building, but lately no quarter is their friend. They started slowly, showed a burst in the second period to go up seven and then allowed a 16-point swing and went into the break down nine.
 
Then they had a bad third until just under three minutes were left. By then they were down 15 to a team that had won two games on the road prior to this and had three double-digit victories all season.
 
This loss is on everyone, but it’s mostly the starters because the bench was the ones providing lifts all night.
 
Keyon Dooling injected the Nets with energy and life in both halves and Josh Boone, Bobby Simmons and Hayes did it in the fourth period.
 
The Nets got little from their starting forwards – seven points total for Yi Jianlian and Trenton Hassell – a solid game from Brook Lopez (14 points, seven rebounds) and not enough from the two stars: Vince Carter and Harris.
 
Carter started fast with 14 points in the first half, but finished with 19 and was 2-of-9 after halftime. Harris had 14 total on 4-for-15 shooting.
 
One positive for the Nets is they got on an airplane and went to Charlotte after the loss. This loss will stick with them and they do play better on the road.
 
Also, Carter and Harris seemed to take it badly. The two usually bounce back quickly and help the Nets get bad losses out of their system right away.
 
The Nets better hope they do because the next game after that is at home. Maybe they should put in for a wake-up call now.
 
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)

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