Deron Williams defends San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili. (Dec. 31,...

Deron Williams defends San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili. (Dec. 31, 2012) Credit: AP

SAN ANTONIO -- Head bowed, his feet soaking in a tub of ice, Deron Williams ran both hands through his hair, the disappointment and frustration obvious on his face.

The Nets were minutes removed from getting clobbered by the Spurs, 104-73, in front of a festive crowd at AT&T Center, and Williams certainly was not feeling that New Year's Eve vibe. Not after another head-scratching performance that left him looking like anything but an All-Star point guard with a $100-million contract.

"I think we are a little out of whack right now as a group. I know I am individually," said Williams, who shot 3-for-11, had eight points, two turnovers and one assist in 28 minutes and watched his team get outscored 30-5 in the third quarter. "I've got to play better. I've got to find ways to get better. Even on bad nights, I don't play like this. This doesn't even feel like it's me out on the court.

"I've just got to snap out of it. I put a lot of pressure on myself early. I was really excited about this year. Coming into the season, I felt like we had a great team. I still feel like we have a great team and I want to be able to help the team more and play better. And tonight was another night I didn't help."

With no Gerald Wallace, who sat out with a bruised left knee, and Reggie Evans starting in his place at power forward, the Nets (16-15) lacked some of their usual offensive firepower. That couldn't have been more evident than it was in the third quarter.

That's when things crumbled in historically bad fashion. The Nets scored only five points -- their lowest output in a third quarter in franchise history -- and saw an eight-point halftime deficit become a 33-point hole.

The Spurs ended the Nets' winning streak at two games and handed P.J. Carlesimo his first loss in three games as the Nets' interim coach.

Hey, at least all five points were scored by Williams, right?

"That has to be our worst third quarter," he said. "I didn't even know we just scored five points until I just looked at the boxscore. I think with a team like that, they target tendencies and probably targeted that third quarter knowing we sometimes have lapses and they took advantage of it. That was a bad quarter all around, offense and defense."

The Spurs just kept mashing the Nets in that brutal quarter. The Nets hit only one of their first 18 shots and went 2-for-20 from the field, including 0-for-6 from three-point range. They turned the ball over seven times, leading to 12 San Antonio points, and yielded 16 easy points in the paint.

"We know what to do, we say the right things," Joe Johnson said. "But when we get on the court, we just don't do them. That's the thing that hurts the most. We talk about it in the huddle. We know the right plays to make on both ends of the floor. We just get on the floor and it's like we go blank.

"It hurts, man, because we felt we were taking steps in the right direction. But defensively, the help wasn't there when we needed it, and offensively, in that second half, it was a tale of two different teams. The ball doesn't move and guys were playing a lot of one-on-one and the ball kind of sticks a little bit.

"Against a team like San Antonio, you can't play like that."

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