Their playoff hopes were flickering badly enough already, and after Tuesday night's loss, it's getting close to lights out.
In a game they could've used to boost their morale along with their place in the Eastern Conference standings, the Nets transformed themselves into a bunch of construction workers, showing off their masonry. Their atrocious shooting, coupled with them also becoming a MASH unit in the second half, doomed them as they fell, 111-91, to the Pelicans at Barclays Center.
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So a week after their stint at home began in earnest with plenty of promise, the Nets (25-37) are mired in a four-game losing streak and are a season-high 12 games below .500, dropping to 31/2 games behind the Hornets for the eighth playoff spot.
"Yeah, it's a little mind-boggling," Joe Johnson said. "Man, honestly we just . . . I don't know. Whether we get off to a fast start or slow start, in my eyes it just seems as though we always are fighting uphill and it's just hard to give ourselves a chance. Obviously, it's not easy to keep a positive mind-set during a rough, tough stretch like this. You think when you come home, you probably will play some of your best basketball.
"And for us, it hasn't been the case. So we've just got to stay focused, man. We've got, what, 20 games left? Believe it or not, it's still not over."
Markel Brown, Alan Anderson and Sergey Karasev each got hurt, leaving a team that was outscored 100-66 and canned only 25 of 70 shots field over the game's final 38:20 shorthanded. Brown sprained his right ankle early in the second half and wasn't available for the better part of the third and fourth quarters, leaving them even more thin at guard because Alan Anderson suffered a bruised tailbone in the first half.
The Nets were left without enough offense to contend with New Orleans (36-29), which was paced by 17 points apiece from Quincy Pondexter and Alexis Ajinca.
Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez led the Nets with 15 points apiece.
Brown's X-rays were negative and he, along with Anderson, traveled with the team to Miami for Wednesday night's matchup against the Heat. But Karasev, who injured his right knee late in the fourth quarter, remained in New York and is expected to be further examined Wednesday. Brown said he's "good" and he tweaks his ankle all the time. He surely didn't lose his sense of humor when recalling what happened on the play.
"I got driven by," Brown said. "Probably, if I wouldn't have got driven by, I wouldn't have rolled my ankle."
Here's where things are with the Nets at the moment: A marriage proposal in the arena got more of a rise from the paying customers than anything they actually did on their own herringbone court and boos have become the norm.
"It was looking up for us and looking like we were about to go on a run," Deron Williams said, "and now it's quite the opposite."
"The teams in front of us, they are not showing any signs of slowing down," said Williams, who shot 3-for-10 and had 10 points. "And so we've got some ground to gain and we've got to play better than we are if we want a chance to win."