BROOKLYN - It may be time for the Nets' faithful put out missing posters for their team's nonexistent offense. Once again, the Brooklyn Nets squandered an opportunity to inch closer to .500 with an 89-81 loss to the Boston Celtics. It's their third straight loss and their third straight game scoring less than 90 points. The Nets defense, partly because of the team's slow offensive pace is now ranked seventh in the NBA in terms of points allowed.
There were so many things wrong with Brooklyn's offensive game in this one.
It started in the second quarter when first, the injury bug came back to haunt Deron Williams. He re-injured his sore left side and was deemed out for the rest of the game. The snowball effect came into action. The Nets were outscored 21-14 and shot 5-for-18 in the quarter alone, while committing 10 first half turnovers. They finished the night with 18 team turnovers compared to Boston's seven.
The Celtics shot 12-for-20 in the third quarter and found a seven point lead heading into the fourth. It appeared to be the type of game where the Nets would blossom late and eventually pull it out against a subpar team. It was quite the opposite.
They started the fourth quarter shooting 3-for-13 and committed four turnovers in the first six minutes, giving Boston their largest lead of the night at 14 with six minutes left. The closest they got was nine with two minutes remaining, but Jeff Green capped off the Nets' loss with a backdoor slam to go up 11, and shut the door in Brooklyn's face.
One of the few bright spots for Brooklyn was Mason Plumlee. He finished the night with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks -- his seventh double-double of the year. Aside from him, it was Joe Johnson (17 points) and Jarrett Jack (15 points) that helped Brooklyn's minimal offense. Jack logged 39 minutes in tonights game after logging 44 on Monday vs. Dallas.
Back to the negatives: Brook Lopez ended his night with six points and five rebounds in 17 minutes. He was just 2-of-7 from the floor and allowed Boston's bigs to take advantage down low. In the third quarter, Lopez lackadaisically jogged towards a loose ball, resulting in a fast break from Jae Crowder. Fans were booing as they watched the home team squander another lead -- and eventually game.
After the game Lopez commented on the lazy play. "I didn't realize (Jae) Crowder was behind me. It was just a very poor night for me. I expect more of myself," Lopez continued on the team's effort. "It's definitely a step backwards, and there was a lull. We kept fighting - the group we had out there in the end. We kept going. We didn't give up."
The team numbers spoke volume. The Nets shot 40% from the field, but notoriously shot 3-of-14 from three. This comes one game after they shot 3-for-25 from three against the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics on the other hand shot 39% from the field but scored 44 of their points in the paint and nailed 14 of their 17 free throw attempts. They also only turned the ball over seven times. In a defensive game, it's always the little things. Odd enough, the Nets out-rebounded Boston 50-41.
"You've got to put the ball in the basket," said Lionel Hollins. "And every night I look down - 39, 40 percent. Every now and then we'll jump up and shoot 50 percent and we'll look really good because we are playing better defense - we are rebounding the ball better. And then we go back to 39 percent again. When you are consistently at 39 percent, it's going to be a struggle to score every game."
Mason Plumlee agreed that the Nets were outhustled.
"No question," he said. "It hurts to say that, but that's what happened."
"This is a game I think we definitely should've got," Joe Johnson said.
"It wasn't great," Lopez said. "I'm definitely disappointed in myself. I felt my effort was poor out there and I let my teammates down.
Hollins was very critical of Lopez for not going after a loose ball that resulted in a backcourt violation and two points. "He was just being lazy.''
For Boston, Avery Bradley led the way with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Tyler Zeller, the only other Celtic in double figures, finished with 18 points and six assists.
Quarter by quarter summary:
First quarter ... The Nets jumped out to a 10-2 run to start the game, but failed to further capitalize on their opportunities. They held the Celtics to 38% shooting and a total of four assists, but it never fully happened for them. Still, they led 25-19 with Brook Lopez and Deron Williams starting the second quarter.
Second quarter ... Two minutes into the quarter, Deron Williams checked out of the game to have his left side evaluated on. He wouldn't return for the rest of the quarter. However, they score five straight points and found their largest lead of the half at 11. It's the first time in the three games played that the Nets have owned a double digit lead over the Celtics.
The Celtics made their way back. They outscored the Nets 21-14 and forced them to turn the ball over 10 times. Not to mention they contained Brooklyn to 5-of-18 shooting in the quarter. Avery Bradley was the anchor to the good start with 12 points and four rebounds.
Kevin Garnett had a superb half. He finished with eight points and seven rebounds -- enforcing team defense and praising his guys when they were doing so. That's a leader. Along with KG, Jarrett Jack was off to a solid start with seven points and four assists, but the Nets and their 41% shooting couldn't pull away.
Score at the half: Celtics 40, Nets 39.
Third quarter ... It was the same old story for the Nets in the third. Their inability to create consistent offense was the ultimate factor in the Celtics finding their largest lead of the night at eight. Boston's 35% shooting from the first half increased to 44.3% as they outscored Brooklyn 29-23 in the quarter. The Nets were just 3-of-11 from three! It was ugly from the perimeter, yet again. Tyler Zeller was having himself a night with 18 points and six rebounds.
The Celtics led the Nets, 69-62.
Fourth quarter ... The Nets started the fourth quarter shooting 3-for-13 while committing four turnovers within that span. The Celtics found their largest lead of the night at 14 with six minutes remaining in the game. They looked heartless, plain and simple.
They cut the deficit to nine, but Jeff Green slammed home a dunk off a wide open backdoor feed with 1:20 remaining. Down 11, this game was over.
Final score: Celtics 89, Nets 81.
For more on the Boston Celtics, check them out at CelticsBlog.
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- Celtics at Nets Boxscore - NBA.com
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Celtics at Nets - NetsDaily
- LISTEN UP! Disappointed Nets Speak on 89-81 Loss to Boston - NetsDaily
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- Nets notes: Deron Williams reinjured - Andy Vasquez - The Record
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Gerald Wallace: Nets’ 2013 Trade With Celtics A Failed ‘Get-Rich-Quick Scheme’ - Ben Watanabe - NESN
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