PHILADELPHIA -- This is the kind of team the Nets are supposed to be clobbering, not losing to at the buzzer in overtime.
When the Nets were put together in the offseason, they thought their depth would allow them to take care of business on nights like this. So what if Joe Johnson wasn't available because of personal reasons and Kevin Garnett was given the night off to rest? This is the same team that just eight weeks ago thought it featured the deepest roster in the league.
But now the Nets are talking -- well, at least their coach and four players who stuck around afterward to deal with the media were talking -- about how they aren't playing with enough energy.
That was evident from the outset Friday night and is a huge reason they got burned in a brutal 121-120 OT loss to the lowly 76ers at the Wachovia Center.
Once Evan Turner's layup over Pierce and Brook Lopez bounced around the rim and seemingly touched every part of it before dropping in at the buzzer -- ending a seven-game losing streak for the 76ers (8-19) -- there was no one for the Nets (9-17) to blame but themselves.
They played like a bunch of fat cats, acting as if they were going to hit the throttle whenever they wanted against a team they thumped by 36 points four days earlier.
"We've got to be up for everybody," said Pierce, who had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. "It's not like we're walking giants. We are bottom-feeders right now, just like Philadelphia, so we've got to be up for everybody. We don't have the luxury to come in here and coast and feel like we can come into the fourth quarter and turn it up. Those are the great teams that understand that and understand the moment. We are not there yet."
Not even close.
Turner (29 points) made contact with Pierce as he released the ball, but there was no call.
"He made a tough shot," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "It could've been a charge."
Afterward, only Pierce, Alan Anderson (26 points), Mirza Teletovic (18 points) and Deron Williams (17 points, 14 assists) were left in a locker room that cleared out faster than the Nets' defense when the 76ers drove through the lane.
"I think we came out soft," Kidd said, "in the sense of not being aggressive."
Lopez was one of the main culprits, floating around and playing without any kind of intensity. His rebounding numbers -- he had seven, but two came on a tap-in -- remained way too low, and the 7-footer's lack of consistent defense is alarming.
The Nets were outscored 66-30 in the paint and were outrebounded 49-36, giving more fuel to those who believe Lopez isn't enough of an all-around player.
No way that trend can continue if the Nets are going to get their season headed in the right direction.
We need to have a better effort on the glass," Pierce said. "It's just inexcusable right now, one of the biggest teams in the league, for us to get crushed on the glass every night."
All that preseason championship talk and hype is a distant memory, replaced by head-scratching and bewilderment. The Nets, no matter how they spin it, just aren't that good.
"We need to turn it around," said Williams, who missed a 19-foot jumper at the regulation buzzer that could have won it. "We've been talking about it for a while. We just need to go out there and do it . . . We need to give it for 48 minutes. We can't turn it off and on."