This was another haunting one, the type of game the Nets may find themselves looking back on weeks from now if they're stuck on a beach sipping fruity beverages rather than punching postseason plane tickets for the third straight spring.
In a season filled with countless numbing defeats, Friday night's 108-100 overtime loss to the Suns at Barclays Center probably moves right to the top.
Latest Nets stories
For a team that supposedly is making a playoff push, blowing a 15-point lead by being outscored 16-1 in the final 5:45 of the fourth quarter was frustrating. After the Nets went up 91-76 on Cory Jefferson's three-point play, the Suns outscored them 32-9 in the final 10:45, including overtime.
"They hurt," said Joe Johnson, who was mostly a spectator in the second half and overtime as Jefferson provided a spark off the bench. " . . . Tonight was a game we should have won. We needed this game."
Brandon Knight's crazy scoop shot with 17.5 seconds left in overtime helped drop the Nets (25-35) into a tie with the Celtics for 10th place in the Eastern Conference. They are 11/2 games behind the Pacers and Heat, who are tied for eighth.
Brook Lopez had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Jefferson added 12 points and 13 rebounds despite not seeing the court until 4:59 remained in the third quarter.
Markieff Morris, twin brother Marcus Morris and Eric Bledsoe had 19 points each for the Suns, who missed their first 21 three-pointers and wound up 3-for-26.
The Nets shot 0-for-7 and had four turnovers in the final 5:45 of the fourth. "We just weren't executing like we were supposed to be," Jefferson said, "and things just got away from us."
Sounds eerily similar to what the Nets might be saying come April 15, the day their regular season ends.
Said Nets coach Lionel Hollins, "We want to make the playoffs, but you have to beat teams on your home court, and you have to close out games on your home court, and you've got to do positive things consistently before you're a playoff team. And we haven't done things consistently all year. We hang around, but we haven't been able to close games when we've needed to."
Notes & quotes: Former St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca, who coached the Nets from 1970-73, was presented a No. 90 jersey by GM Billy King to celebrate his recent 90th birthday.