Pistons hand Nets fifth straight loss
Their coach spent extra time after his team's latest ugly defeat embroiled in a deep discussion with three key members of the Nets' brain trust, including general manager Billy King.
They were noticeably booed twice by the matinee crowd, as the fans apparently are fed up with a product that has yet to show much resemblance to a championship-caliber team or justify the increased ticket prices.
Things got so bad that Jason Kidd sent a lineup of Tyshawn Taylor, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic, Tornike Shengelia and Mason Plumlee out to start the fourth quarter Sunday, all because he wasn't seeing the necessary effort from the high-priced Nets who were healthy enough to suit up.
Yep, just another wacky snapshot of how things are going in Netsland these days.
On the team's kids day, the Nets were the ones who looked like a bunch of grade-schoolers in a 109-97 loss to the Pistons at Barclays Center. They coughed up a seven-point halftime lead in lightning-quick fashion, victimized by one of their trademark zombie-like efforts in the third quarter.
So what if they again were without injured stars Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, and didn't have the services of Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko? In losing for the fifth straight game and the eighth time in their last nine contests, the Nets (3-10) weren't about to use those absences as a rationale for their continued swoon.
"We have two of our top guys out, but we've got a lot of talent still in this room that dresses up night in and night out," said Joe Johnson, who tried to keep the Nets in it with 34 points and a career-high eight three-pointers. "So that's no excuse with those guys being out at this point. But it seems we are not even close when it comes to the fourth quarter.
"With four minutes, three minutes, two minutes on the clock, it's like we are not even close. That's the most frustrating thing at this point."
It was hard to be in it late, given that the Nets shot 5-for-19 in the third quarter, allowed the Pistons (5-8) to shoot 66.7 percent (12-for-18), turned the ball over seven times and were outscored 34-15. But the Nets should be used to that by now. In their third quarters of their losses, they've been outscored 286-188.
"We have to be the worst team in the league when it comes to third quarters . . . it's just unacceptable," Kevin Garnett said. "As players, we have to be accountable, including myself, and come out and do whatever it is we've got to do and apply it."
So Kidd had seen enough and dug deep into his bench to start the fourth.
"They deserved to play," he said. "I should have let them play the whole game or the whole quarter."
That's not exactly an endorsement of his veterans.
The Pistons picked up their second road win, helped by a quick backcourt of Rodney Stuckey (27 points) and Brandon Jennings (14 points, 10 assists).
Paul Pierce and Garnett totaled 7-for-22 shooting from the field, and Pierce said the Nets' second-half woes stem from a number of issues. Bottom line: There's just too many flaws in their game on both sides of the ball after halftime.
"I think part of it is turnovers," he said. "We foul a lot on defense. We've just got to do a better job across the board, execute and understand the things that we did in the first half. We've got to understand that teams aren't going to play the same way they did in the first half in the second half, because teams make adjustments, especially when they're down. And we have to be able to realize that and adjust with that."
It's either that or get booed off their own floor again.
"I think everybody in here is embarrassed," Garnett said. "You definitely don't want that at home. Like I've been saying, we're going to continue to work to try to change this as best we can."
Notes & quotes: Shaun Livingston appeared to collide with Josh Smith late in the fourth quarter and got checked out for a hit in the head after the game. His status will be determined after Monday's practice . . . Pierce said it's beyond time for him and Garnett to get it going on both sides of the ball, particularly on offense, with all of the Nets' injuries. "Well, obviously we have to play better than we have been playing, me and him," Pierce said. "It's a tough situation when your two stars and four of your top eight players are out and you're put in different roles across the board -- not only me and Kevin, but everybody's role changes across the board until our other guys can come in. Our identity changes, there's a lot of changes we have to deal with when you're not playing with your core guys. A lot of things that we do, we play through Brook, we play through Deron and those guys aren't there. So a lot of things that we're doing, we're changing, and we have to do it on the fly. But we have to be better, end of the story."