CHARLOTTE, N.C - At least the Nets can say they had a better day than this city's mayor.
Patrick Cannon resigned after being arrested on charges of bribery and public corruption. The Nets could be accused only of playing bad defense and missing key shots.
The Nets, shorthanded again, found themselves in a tussle Wednesday night with the Bobcats, grinding into overtime for a franchise-record third straight game. They watched Charlotte nail 5 of 8 shots in the extra session and, just like 48 hours earlier in New Orleans, the Nets (37-33) failed to come through in the clutch. They lost, 116-111, at Time Warner Cable Arena, ending their trek of three games in four nights with a 1-2 record.
"It's a tough road trip for us,'' said Deron Williams, who had 29 points and seven assists after feeling ill at the morning shootaround.
"We had three straight overtime games, games that could've went either way. This was a little easier [to take], just because we didn't have a 22-point lead. But still, at the same time, we didn't make the right plays down the stretch, we didn't get stops. We didn't play our type of defense, especially the second and third quarters.''
In the game's deciding play, Mason Plumlee swatted Josh McRoberts' shot at the rim with 11.9 seconds left in OT. But on a night when virtually everything the Bobcats shot was going in, the ball went directly to former Net Chris Douglas-Roberts. He sank a corner three-pointer to put the Nets in a five-point hole they couldn't climb out of.
"I probably hit him right in the shooting pocket,'' Plumlee said. "I didn't even look. But he hit a big shot, hats off to him. But that's why you get stops before that. Maybe if I don't let [Al] Jefferson get that layup.
" . . . You have to look at the whole game. You can't look at the last play.''
Charlotte (35-37), led by Jefferson's 35 points and 15 rebounds, had a chance to win it in regulation, but Kemba Walker waited way too long to get into his move and lost the ball as he was about to shoot inside the three-point line. It fell into the hands of Shaun Livingston to force OT.
That turnover came after Williams' shot that squared it at 105 was ruled a two-pointer. There was no definitive replay that could have overturned the call.
"We only needed a two,'' Williams said. "I wasn't really concerned with where I was at. I just wanted to get the shot off.''
Williams made his first three shots before missing a 25-footer. He was essentially the Nets' entire offense, tossing in 18 of their first 28 points. He swished 7 of 9 shots, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Problem was the Nets weren't playing good defense and were shredded by Jefferson. They left the court bummed after two disheartening losses following one of their most impressive wins of the season in Dallas Sunday.
"A loss is always tough to swallow,'' Paul Pierce said. "I don't think there are any moral victories.
"They played outstanding. Al Jefferson, no one on the planet can guard him. We tried to double him, triple, single, there's nothing we could've done with him tonight. He was in that type of zone.
"So hats off to the Bobcats. They made tough plays. Sometimes that's what you've got to do to win ballgames, and they did it tonight.''