EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - With each crushing and hard-to-swallow loss, answers become harder and harder to find for the Nets.
After yet another such loss, this one to the Utah Jazz at home on Sunday, Deron Williams had few explanations when asked the same old questions after a long practice Monday.
Asked about his suddenly untrustworthy shooting (he was 2-for-5 from the floor Sunday after going 2-for-16 against Phoenix on Friday and 3-for-9 against Charlotte last Wednesday), Williams sighed.
"I'm just not a very good shooter, man," he said. "I'm just not a very good shooter."
Asked why his team is so bad at home (11-18 at Barclays Center compared to 14-18 on the road), Williams couldn't explain that, either.
"There's really no excuse," he said. "You know, usually you're a better home team than a road team, and it seems we're the opposite. Why that is, I don't know. I wish I did.
"I wish I had an answer for why we're struggling, for why we go up and down, why I can't shoot. I don't [have any] answers.
"We thought we had a good team," Williams said. "We've seen glimpses of it. We just can't figure it out."
Williams isn't the only one who is clueless as to why the Nets are a season-worst 11 games under .500 (25-36) and 21/2 games out of a playoff spot.
"We have been very competitive -- except for the Charlotte game -- in every game since the All-Star break," coach Lionel Hollins said. "We very possibly could have been 7-2, realistically 6-3. But we are 4-5 and we just want to keep competing and being aggressive and being competitive and see if we can get some wins."
Hollins, who seemed testy in his postgame media briefing on Sunday, insisted he isn't frustrated by the Nets' unpredictable, up-and-down play.
"No, I was probably disappointed," he said. "But frustration is a long ways away. I get disappointed. I get down when we lose. I'm a competitor. I want to win. When I come in there and talk to you guys when we lose, I'm hurt."
Still, with 21 games to go, the Nets believe they can make the playoffs.
"Yeah, we're right there," Williams said. "But we've got some work to do. It's not like we can just win a couple games and expect to be there. We're going to have to win a lot of these ballgames in the last 21, because teams are peaking at the right time."