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Nets fall to the Jazz, 92-90, after failing to execute in the second half

The Nets were unable to close out the Jazz, after playing a strong first half of basketball.


Tonight, the Nets had an opportunity to put the Utah Jazz away early, except they couldn't get past their struggles in the 3rd or 4th quarters.

Brooklyn looked good early, seeing both Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson get active on the offensive side of the ball, while Kris Humphries, who was back in the starting lineup, returned to cleaning up the glass. With their offensive execution, and the Jazz lack of a defensive presence, the Nets seemed to be walking away with this one, as they took a 57-44 lead into halftime.

Then, came the 3rd quarter.

The Jazz out-hustled the Nets in the 3rd quarter, and found ways to disrupt their offensive flow. At times it almost looked like the Nets were resting on their first-half execution, failing to make the proper adjustments as the Jazz countered with bigger lineups. The Nets, in the 3rd, found themselves out-scored 26-17, and it didn't get any better from there.

In the 4th, the Jazz played nearly as sloppy as the Nets, yet they still managed to eventually pull away, thanks to their work off the offensive glass and the defensive effort put on by some of their bench players, including Derrick Favors and DeMarre Carrol. In fact, Carroll was responsible for essentially shutting down Joe Johnson in the 4th, holding him to 0-of-4 shooting from the floor.

Team leaders all expressed frustration with the Nets overall play, as Tim Bontemps tweeted.

Joe Johnson: "Our third quarter has been our Achilles heel. We haven't figured it out."

Gerald Wallace: "Losing hurts period. At home, on the road, it doesn't matter where."

Deron Williams: "We can't keep giving leads away. We have to be mentally tougher than this."

The number that really stood out was the offensive boards, with the Jazz pulling down 18 to the Nets 12. However, the sequence that will leave many scratching their heads was the final 20 seconds of the game, when actually both teams seemed like they didn't want to come away with a victory at the end.