Kevin Garnett was getting into it with Hawks forward Mike Scott early in the second quarter, although he was jawing away in relatively clean terms, considering his penchant for using words that would make a sailor blush.
Unprompted by anyone or anything, Garnett kept barking at Scott. "There's trash out here!" he said, repeating it for effect. "There's trash out here!"
But it turned out that the only real rubbish on the Barclays Center floor on this night was the home team.
The Nets came in riding high after consecutive wins over the Knicks and defending champion Spurs. But they were unable to get anything going offensively Friday night in a 98-75 loss to Atlanta in which they were outscored 36-13 in the second quarter.
"This was frustrating tonight," Deron Williams said. "Disappointing. Embarrassing. Especially after the last two wins, to come out and play the way we did. I'm definitely surprised and all those emotions I said. I just can't put my finger on it."
The Nets (8-10) fell behind by 32 (91-59), scored only 31 points in the first half and totaled 19 turnovers. They never got into a sustainable rhythm, and coach Lionel Hollins emptied his bench, inserting seldom-used reserves for the entire fourth quarter.
In making only 37.5 percent of their shots overall -- 26.3 percent in the second quarter -- the Nets were about as cold as they've been at any point during this roller-coaster season.
The Nets, who fell to 1-8 against teams with winning records, misfired on 13 of their first 14 shots in the second quarter and wound up shooting 5-for-19 in the period. The Hawks shot 12-for-18 in the quarter, including 6-for-11 from beyond the three-point arc.
DeMarre Carroll, who led the Hawks (12-6) with 18 points, drained all five of his shots in the quarter, going 4-for-4 from three-point range. He had 14 of Atlanta's 36 points in the quarter, singlehandedly outscoring the Nets.
"It really got away from us there," said Brook Lopez, who paced the Nets with 20 points and seven rebounds. "They really shot the ball well and we kind of got away from things that we've been doing well the past few games. I thought we made an effort in the third quarter, but at that point their confidence was pretty high. They just kept knocking it down, so it's tough.''
Said Hollins: "Sometimes you come out flat, and we were flat tonight."
That's what made this loss that much tougher to swallow for the Nets -- knowing they were riding the emotional wave after successive wins over the Spurs and Knicks, only to come crashing back to reality.
"Yeah, it makes it more difficult," Joe Johnson said. "But the past two games, I didn't think we were in a good rhythm offensively. I just thought our defense kept us in the game and we were able to pull it out late. Tonight was a game that the opponent had the hot hand and we couldn't do nothing about it."
King James and royals. As part of their three-day visit to the East Coast next week, Prince William and Princess Kate are scheduled to be in attendance Monday when the Nets host LeBron James' Cavaliers.