Deron Williams' 27 points not enough as Nets lose to 76ers
PHILADELPHIA -- As a quiet visitors' locker room emptied out, Gerald Wallace sat in his corner stall fully dressed, head bowed, his hands on top of his braided hair.
The swingman wasn't in much of a mood to talk to anyone, certainly not the media. On another ineffective night, continuing a worrisome trend for him, Wallace had been benched for the entire fourth quarter as P.J Carlesimo searched for the right combination to pull the Nets out of a game-long funk.
In a way, Wallace's silence, paired with Brook Lopez's postgame absence, told the entire story. The Nets were flat-out embarrassed by their lethargic effort in a 106-97 loss to the last-place 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night, falling to a team that had lost five in a row and 12 of its previous 13 games.
"It hurts. It hurts real bad," Reggie Evans said. "It's real, real tough. No disrespect to them, but it's a tough pill to swallow."
By turning in a serious stinker, the Nets (37-27) saw their three-game winning streak snapped and watched the 76ers (24-39) showered with confetti as if they had won a playoff game.
"This is a bad loss for us," Deron Williams said. "I thought we were playing better. We played a good game down there in Atlanta and then came up here and didn't come with that same defensive effort. They scored 100 points on us, got a lot of easy looks, 31 assists, seven turnovers. We didn't get after them enough. We didn't do what we needed to to get a win.
"We just didn't really execute our game plan. We didn't come ready."
That didn't apply to Williams, who scored 22 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, went over the career 10,000- point mark and added 13 assists. But not even that was enough to bring the Nets back from an 11-point deficit early in the final quarter.
That's because the Nets' defense was atrocious. Spencer Hawes (24 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) killed them inside, and Philadelphia shot 51.5 percent in the second half. Hey, at least it dipped from the 53.5 percent the 76ers shot in the first half against the Nets, who had many defensive breakdowns.
"The first five or six shots they had, there was no contest," Carlesimo said. "We just didn't defend. I mean, they had so many assists, so few turnovers, so few fouls. The meat of the game, they had assists and no turnovers and we had no fouls. We just didn't get into them defensively. We were hanging around because we were making shots.
"I didn't think we played with the same edge that we had played the last two games."
Lopez (19 points) appeared to have it early but fizzled after a strong first quarter. He shot 7-for-9 and scored 14 quick points to help the Nets grab a 28-24 advantage, but he didn't get many touches in the second quarter and played only 5:50 in the fourth quarter.
"He's got to present himself," Carlesimo said. "You can also get some rebounds, and there's other ways to get it. But I'm way more bothered with our defense than our offense. We weren't good, but 97 points should be good enough for us to win on the road."