Poor second half dooms Nets in loss to Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. -- So much for that much-needed bounce back.
The Nets talked about the importance of regaining their mojo Wednesday night, finding a way to rebound from a tough loss to the Lakers less than 24 hours earlier as they took the court at Oracle Arena against the Warriors. If the Nets are going to be an elite team, winning games like this one is imperative.
Looks as if they still have a lot of work to do.
The Nets were thoroughly outplayed in the second half, getting outscored by 14 points and suffering a numbing 102-93 loss that sent them home with a disappointing 1-2 mark on their three-game West Coast trip.
“It —— that we are going back 1-2 on this trip. We didn't envision that,’’ Deron Williams said. “We wanted to win every game and then we lost [Tuesday] and we wanted to save the trip and go 2-1. So it definitely gives us a bad taste in our mouth going to the holiday.
Third quarters have been the Nets’ Achilles heel all season and it wasn’t any different against the Warriors as they let a 46-41 lead at the break quickly slip away.
Avery Johnson said before the game that he would try to call fewer plays in the quarter, hoping that would speed up the tempo and jump-start an offense that can’t seem to get on track once the third quarter commences.
Never happened, though.
Carl Landry’s finger roll with 2:42 left in the third handed Golden State its first lead, 65-63, and the Warriors never looked back, gaining confidence with each basket and getting a major rise out of an enthusiastic crowd. Stephen Curry’s four-point play with 2.5 seconds left in the third propelled Golden State to a 74-66 lead and nearly blew the roof off the building.
“We’ve got to figure out how to change it up. Our defense had a low grade in the third quarter. They made some threes, they ran it up our throats and then offensively, we just couldn’t get it going,’’ Johnson said. “Sometimes when you lose a tough game like we did [Tuesday night] and coming in here on a back-to-back game, they were ready and they had more energy than we did in the second half.’’
Johnson was looking for an infusion of energy in the fourth, so he inserted Mirza Teletovic to spread the floor, his first game action since the Nets’ blowout win in Orlando Nov. 9. He nailed a jumper to bring the Nets within 78-71 with 9:43 to play, but took only one more shot — and missed it — before Johnson summoned him back to the bench.
Brook Lopez had a team-high 22 points for the Nets, though he snatched only three rebounds. Andray Blatche had 11 points off the bench. Williams went 4 of 12 from the field, missing all four shots from three-point range, and finished with nine points and eight assists.
Johnson had 13 points, going 1-for-9 after canning his first three shots.
"Obviously, it's disappointing for us as a team. I thought we had pretty much control of the game in that first quarter, but after the first quarter, it was like they outplayed us pretty much the rest of the game and that can't happen,’’ Joe Johnson said. “We’ve got to be able to put teams away sometimes.’’
Curry pumped in a game-high 25 points for the Warriors and former Knick David Lee had 20 points and 13 rebounds.
With Gerald Wallace resting his left ankle because it was the second game of a back-to-back, the Nets got off to a furious start, jumping all over Mark Jackson’s Warriors from the opening tip. On the strength of really nice ball movement and a concerted effort to get the ball to Lopez, they were shooting a blistering 81.3 percent at one point before Jackson went to more of a zone defense look.
The Nets hit 13 of their first 16 shots, assisting on nine of them, and grabbed a 28-17 lead. They hit 14 of 19 shots in the first quarter and held a 30-18 advantage going into the second.
However, they really started cooling off in the second quarter, hitting just 6 of 20 shots as the Warriors cut a 13-point bulge to five at halftime.
Notes & quotes:
Reggie Evans became the first player to be disciplined for violating the NBA’s anti-flopping rules, getting hit with a $5,000 fine. The Nets scrappy power forward who already had received a warning from the league, was deemed to have flopped late in the third quarter of Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers. The next violation will result in a $10,000 fine.