Nets let game slip away

dooling250_031109.jpgEverything broke right for the Nets to jump back into eighth place, back into a playoff spot. All they had to do was beat the Golden State Warriors.
But, the team that had suddenly made its mark as one that fought to the end, one that played with urgency exhaled.
Terrible timing. Terrible way to start this four-game West trip.
There are 18 games left, but the Nets’ 116-112 loss to Golden State could be one that costs them their season. This was a bad loss, and got the Nets’ trip off to a rough start. Now to go 2-2 out West, the Nets will have to win in either Portland or Denver. Three-and-one would be near miraculous.
The Bulls were beaten earlier on Wednesday and the Bucks on Tuesday. A win to start this trip would have put the Nets all alone in eighth, could have set them up for a nice, successful trip. Instead they’re tied for 10th again after losing one they had to win.
The Nets seemed in good shape, up 81-67 roughly midway through the third. About 11 minutes later, the Nets were down, 108-97, outscored 45-16 in that time. They made it interesting late, but it never should have come to that.
“It’s very, very disappointing,” coach Lawrence Frank said on the YES Network after the game. “In the third quarter, we started to lose our poise. They took a little bit of our spirit away.”
Shouldn’t have happened. The Warriors are a couple losses away from playoff elimination — basically they’re done — but they can say they beat the Nets twice this season. The Nets are playing for something, but you wouldn’t have known by the lack of effort, energy and defense late in the game.
They let Anthony Morrow — who? — grab a key offensive rebound. And when the game was in the balance, the Nets down two in the final 20 seconds, they let Ronny Turiaf grab an offensive board that led to two Stephen Jackson foul shots.
Those aren’t the plays that cost the Nets. There were many. You don’t have a 25-point swing and then have the game come down to two or three plays.
The Nets hurt themselves from the line, where they missed 13 of 36 free throws. The Warriors were 39-of-48 from the foul line. The Nets hurt themselves inside where they were out-rebounded, 54-38. They hurt themselves with their shot selection, point production and their defense.
The Nets scored a season-high 67 points in the first half and gave up 63 in the second half, 49 coming in the last 17:11. The Nets were just 15-of-41 from the field after halftime.
“We had a let-down and it kind of steamrolled on us in that third quarter,” Frank said.
Where was Vince Carter? He was taken out of the game by foul trouble and never established himself. It seemed the Nets were fine, especially up 14 at the break, despite Carter scoring just seven points and ahead by 14 in the third with him still stuck on seven.
It wound up the Nets needed Carter, who was 5-for-18 and when he hit a layup with 47 seconds left in the game it was his first basket since the first period.
The loss wasn’t on Carter. It was on all the Nets for not being able to sustain what they did in the first half when they were aggressive on both ends.
The Warriors are an undisciplined team, taking rushed shots, bad shots, forcing passes, but with the game on the line they looked more together than the Nets.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).

One comment


    Too bad! This game is critical important for NETS to be playoff or not. Now there is one team left for NETS to win in the West.

    NETS was very disappointing team. Last night, I waited to 10:30PM to start watching the game.

    NETS is not a TEAM Players, just five individuals on court only. They should learn from CELTICS.

    It is time for Frank to retire now. He needs to use his brain to coach the team. He should tell his players to use their brains, especially for the inside players (LOPEZ actually is pretty good)

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