WASHINGTON -- Guess they had Nemo on their minds.
How else could anyone explain precisely why the Nets got beat down by the Wizards Friday night, playing with little emotion at times and looking like a tired team in an 89-74 loss?
The Nets were out of whack offensively and were done in by a second quarter in which they were outscored 30-11. They allowed the Wizards to take command with a 19-1 run that put them in a hole they simply couldn't escape.
Said Joe Johnson, "I thought the effort was great to start the game. During that second quarter, man, I don't know what happened. But give them credit. They've been playing well of late and they came out and showed it in that second quarter and they hit. We never bounced back from it.''
The Nets missed their first 12 shots of the second quarter and shot 4-for-22 in the period. Nene nearly outscored them by himself, scoring 10 points in the quarter. The Nets wound up shooting only 32.9 percent from the floor (25-for-76).
"We couldn't put the ball in the basket and didn't defend on the other end,'' Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We couldn't make free throws, we couldn't make points in the paint, we couldn't make three-point shots. I thought we didn't put the ball in the basket in the first quarter, either. We hung in because I thought we were playing hard.
"There's nights our bench has really given us a lift. The problem is there's been extremes. They've either been good and really contributed or they've dug a hole for us, and obviously tonight was a little more of that.
"We just didn't fight back enough . . . The second quarter was terrible. I'm really, really disappointed as a team and also individually.''
The Wizards (14-35), sparked by the recent return of John Wall, have won eight of nine at the Verizon Center, beating the Thunder, Hawks, Bulls, Knicks and Clippers. Said Carlesimo, "Knowing how well these guys have been playing and the kind of effort we needed, to come with that kind of effort in the second quarter, it's inexcusable.''
Might the Nets need a trade to shake things up? "Billy [King, the general manager] and I will talk about that,'' Carlesimo said. "Especially after a game like this, I'll keep my mouth shut.''
Trailing by 20 at halftime, the Nets (29-21) were able to make a game of it somewhat by limiting the Wizards to 14 points in the third quarter.
Washington led by 23 points in the third, but the Nets went on a 14-0 run to cut the deficit to nine before Bradley Beal's three-pointer at the end of the quarter pushed it back to 12. The Nets never got any closer than 11 after that and lost for the fifth time in their last eight games.
Nene led the Wizards with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Martell Webster added 16 points and Wall totaled 15 points and nine assists. Deron Williams paced the Nets with 20 points. Johnson had 14 and Brook Lopez 13.
Carlesimo said of the Wizards, "I thought they were aggressive. They doubled us and I guess they contested inside, because we had shots in the paint and we just didn't finish. It's silly to say that it's shots we make, that guys normally make and we didn't make them tonight. You have to give them credit.
"As you said, we didn't make shots. Guys had threes, guys had shots in the paint, guys had free throws. Outside free throws, I'm sure Washington's defense had something to do with it.''