Deron Williams (8) attempts a jumper against the Grizzles' Tony...

Deron Williams (8) attempts a jumper against the Grizzles' Tony Allen (9) in the first half of a game at Barclays Center. (Feb. 24, 2013) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The general manager escorted the All-Star center who didn't play a single minute in the fourth quarter out of the locker room and to the loading dock.

A few others quickly trickled out behind Billy King and Brook Lopez, scurrying away so they wouldn't have to discuss how things went down in the closing minutes, apparently afraid of getting themselves in trouble for trashing the officiating.

Stare closely enough and it appeared as if there were a big ol' piece of tumbleweed blowing through the locker room, which was as barren as the Sahara.

The Nets were seething that there wasn't a whistle on Deron Williams' drive in the closing seconds, ticked that their point guard didn't get a foul call with the score knotted.

They probably should have been more bothered that they were held scoreless for the final 2:49 and allowed the Grizzles to close them out with a 9-0 spurt in a gut-wrenching 76-72 loss to Memphis before a Barclays Center crowd of 17,098 Sunday night.

"You don't lose the game on the last play," said interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, whose team was without Joe Johnson for a second straight game as he nurses a sore left heel. "We had other opportunities to do things, but that is just a real disappointing way to lose."

Williams, who paced the Nets (33-24) with 24 points and four assists, was the only Nets starter who played more than three seconds in the fourth quarter. He had scored eight key points before trying to propel the Nets into the lead in the final minute.

With the score tied at 72 and less than 30 seconds left, he knifed his way into the paint and was met by Tony Allen and Zach Randolph. Allen appeared to make contact and Williams crashed hard into the stanchion, suffering a left calf contusion. No call, though.

"I definitely thought I got fouled," he said. "I mean, but they didn't call it, so I guess I didn't."

Allen, as one might imagine, had a different take. "I was not surprised there was not a foul because I had a good read on the ball," he said. "I just have been studying film on Deron, so I just wanted to come through for my team and get some good stops."

Said Williams, "It's frustrating, but I can't really control calls or no-calls or anything like that. I can control that I turned the ball over the next play, which was even more frustrating, and how we executed down the stretch was frustrating."

That critical turnover came after Allen made two free throws with 19.5 seconds left -- the officials initially called goaltending on MarShon Brooks and counted the basket before reviewing the play and overturning it -- for a 74-72 Memphis lead.

Williams drove into the lane and tried to get the ball to Mirza Teletovic, who played 11:57 of the fourth. But Tayshaun Prince stole the pass with 10 seconds left and fed Mike Conley Jr., who wound up nailing two free throws to put the Nets in a four-point hole.

"It was a little broken-down play, really," Williams said. "I had to come out and get a little further than I thought, and just turned the corner and went down the lane and saw Mirza cutting. But I think he was going to the corner and it was just a bad pass, one which I wish I could have back."

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