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Nets comeback bid falls short; lose to the Bobcats 95-91

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Streeter Lecka

The Nets went to Charlotte with their starting point guard back and were expected to re-find their winning ways. Boy, were they were mistaken. Brooklyn's defense was awful again, and they couldn't get their offense going in the second and third quarters.

A huge comeback in the final minutes wasn't enough for Brooklyn, and they lost by a final score of 95-91.

The Nets, similarly to Monday night, came out firing against the Bobcats. Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche led the Nets offensive attack, Johnson scoring 10 on 3-of-4 shooting, and Blatche scoring six.  However, it was their defense that was their downfall. The Bobcats shot 61% from the field in the first frame with 18 of their 30 points coming from in the paint. The Nets shot an even better 62%, but their defense couldn't get them ahead; they were down 30-29 after the first.

The Nets' poor defense continued in the second quarter, when they allowed the Bobcats to shoot 55% and again score 18 points in the paint. Their defense was so bad in the first half that Ian Eagle called it, "swiss cheese tonight." To put the Nets' awful first-half defense into perspective, they allowed 15 layups and one dunk, and the Bobcats scored a total of 53 points in the first; consider this: they average 88 points per game.

The offense regressed, as it did Monday night, in the second quarter. Brooklyn shot a woeful 36% and not one player could buy a bucket. Nine Nets took a shot in the second, but only one, Kevin Garnett, hit more than one. And, as if the offense wasn't playing as bad as it was, Deron Williams rolled his ankle late in the second quarter. Williams wasn't playing too great as it was, shooting one-of-five in his return, dishing out two assists, and turning the ball over twice. But with three minutes left, Williams missed a pull-up jump shot and landed on Kemba Walker's foot. Williams took, and made, his free-throw attempts, but then left for the locker room.

Williams did not return to the game in the second half. He injured the same ankle he hurt Friday night in Phoenix. The Nets do not yet know the severity of the injury.

It didn't get better for the Nets to start the second half. Charlotte came out on an 11-4 run, which forced a Jason Kidd timeout. However, the Nets would climb back into the game with help from the Bobcats. Charlotte continued to make mistakes: a Kemba Walker missed layup, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist dropped a pass, and Josh McRoberts was given a technical out of frustration. The Nets momentum was killed with a Shaun Livingston technical, and two deep Kemba Walker threes. Only four Nets scored in the third; Blatche and Johnson continued to be the bright spots for them with 8 and 7 in the quarter, respectively. What was a three-point halftime deficit now was a 13 point deficit entering the fourth.

Alex Raskin, of the Wall Street Journal, summed up the Nets defense.

Alan Anderson got the fourth quarter going with two early threes. They cut the lead to as much as two. The Nets locked down defensively in the final frame, as the Bobcats shot 3-of-21 from the field.  The team just couldn't string together enough scores to erase the double-digit deficit. The Nets used Blatche heavily down the stretch as he scored the team's final eight. It was too much for the Nets to overcome, though.

Johnson and Blatche led the way for Brooklyn. Johnson finished with 19, while Blatche scored 25 off the bench, shooting 11-of-14 from the field. Kemba Walker led the way for Charlotte with 31 on 12-of-20 shooting, and hit two free throws with six seconds left to put the game away. Jeff Adrien was a beast in the paint grabbing 10 rebounds, five on the offensive end, keeping many Charlotte offensive possessions alive.

The Nets major issues came around the rim. Charlotte had 17 offensive rebounds and scored 52 points in the paint .

It's getting tough to handle these losses, especially in such ugly fashion to a team that, at least on paper, the Nets are better than. Jason Kidd needs to think of something for this team to do to get on the winning end of things.

“No,” GM Billy King told The News when asked if there’s a sense of urgency from upper management or ownership. “Like I said before it’s a long year. Yeah, we’d like to play a little better. Obviously, everybody would. It’s not just management. It’s ownership, it’s players, coaches. We’d all like to play better.”

The Nets take on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night in Minnesota.

For more on the Bobcats, see: Rufus on Fire