Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn Nets
Here are some moves he could make:
(Remember: This is all fun and purely speculative.)
1. Carlos Boozer for Paul Pierce: Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweeted this idea, and it’s a good one. It would be predicated on the idea that the Chicago Bulls, with point guard Derrick Rose out for the season, decide they want to rebuild and clear money off their books. Pierce is in the final year of his contract and makes $15.3 million. Boozer is owed $15.3 million this season and $16.8 million in 2014-15. Boozer, 32, is averaging 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game on 44.6 percent shooting. He played with Nets point Deron Williams in Utah, and the two had great chemistry.
Not sure how veteran Kevin Garnett would feel about his longtime teammate leaving, but this would certainly help the Nets up front. Garnett has a guaranteed $12 million next season, but in the event that he decided to retire at season’s end, the Nets would be able to play Boozer next to Lopez in 2014-15, assuming Lopez (foot) is able to recover and get healthy by then.
2. Pau Gasol for Lopez: ESPN Insider Bradford Doolittle suggests this one. It’s an interesting proposal, to be sure, but not sure if either team does it. Gasol has a $19.3 million contract expiring, so the Nets would have to be certain they could extend him a couple years. His Player Efficiency Rating has gone down in each of the last three seasons and he’s 33. Lopez, currently in the second year of a four-year, $60 million contract, has now had four serious foot injuries in the past three seasons, but he’s 25. Would the Lakers want to gamble on a second max-deal player with an injury history? Isn’t Kobe Bryant enough?
3. Zach Randolph/David Lee for Pierce: These two scenarios feel like long shots. Randolph and Lee both fit the profile: older power forwards with contracts that last beyond this season. Randolph’s next three years (including this one) break down like this: $16.5 million, $17.8 million, $16.5 million (player option). Lee: $13.9 million, $15 million, $15.5 million. The Memphis Grizzlies’ motivation would be clearing cap space to make future moves. But perhaps they can get better return in terms of young assets and picks for Randolph, 32, which the Nets don’t have in abundance. Lee, 30, is putting up really good numbers for the Golden State Warriors (17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG), so this doesn’t seem likely -- especially since Pierce isn’t an up-tempo player. Plus, there’s no incentive in the form of real solid assets for the Warriors.
An expanded look at some tweets from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Indications are Nets will explore applying for Disabled Player Exception after losing Brook Lopez to yet another sad foot injury— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 21, 2013
If the Nets secure the DPE, it would allow them to acquire one player via free agency or trade to replace Lopez under the following conditions, courtesy of CBA expert Larry Coon:
• The team may sign a free agent for one season only, for 50 percent of the disabled player’s salary or the amount of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, whichever is less.
• The team may trade for a player in the last season of his contract only (including any option years), who is making no more than 50 percent plus $100,000 of the disabled player’s salary, or the amount of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception plus $100,000, whichever is less.
In short term, though, Brooklyn unlikely to rush out in search of fill-in bigs w/KG, Blatche, Plumee, Evans and Teletovic there to step in— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 21, 2013
Given that the Nets are in win-now mode, expect GM Billy King to explore every possible avenue with which he can upgrade the roster.
But as Stein points out, at least in the immediate, the Nets are going to have to live with what they have internally.
Andray Blatche would seem to be the obvious candidate to start alongside Kevin Garnett. Blatche is averaging 11.8 points and 5.9 rebounds off the bench on 47.4 percent shooting.
If the Nets wanted to go smaller, they could start Mirza Teletovic, who hit a career-high six 3-pointers Friday night in Philadelphia.
Rookie Mason Plumlee has been better than expected, which essentially pushed veteran rebound specialist/offensive liability Reggie Evans out of the rotation.
The Nets touted their depth in the offseason, but no amount of depth is going to make up for the loss of one of the NBA’s premiere centers.
Also, Lopez’s absence is going to make it tougher for the Nets to conserve Garnett, which was the plan going into the 2013-14 campaign. In fact, Garnett did not play Friday night so he could rest.
Andrei Kirilenko told reporters recently he’s targeting sometime before the team’s road game in Indiana on Dec. 28 for his return to the lineup.
Brooklyn also hoping Kirilenko finally on brink of return to action to provide needed boost on variety of fronts. Rebounding has to improve— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 21, 2013
Kirilenko has already missed 22 games this season due to back spasms. While trying to return, he has already had three setbacks and taken two epidurals.
The Nets desperately need him back -- even more so now.
Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season on 50.7 percent shooting in 31.8 minutes. His defensive versatility was also extremely useful.
The Nets would gladly sign up for those numbers -- or, at least, somewhere around there.
The Nets are currently 28th in the NBA in rebounding. Only New York and Miami are worse.
NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, the team announced. The injury occurred in Friday night’s overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. League sources say Lopez is out for the season.
What it means: This is a devastating blow to a $190 million team that came into the season with high expectations and championship dreams. The Nets (9-17) just lost the seventh-most efficient player in the entire NBA for the rest of the season. Only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love have higher PERs than Lopez. And remember, the Nets don’t have their first-round pick in 2014 because of the Joe Johnson trade. Defensively, the Nets are 6.4 points per 100 possessions better with Lopez on the court (109.1 to 102.7). Add all that up, and, well, yikes.
Poor Brook: Lopez, 25, ends his season averaging a career-high 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on a career-high 56.3 percent shooting. He truly was a dominant force on the offensive end -- ranking first in the NBA in points per touch -- with his ability to score inside and shoot standing one-handed jumpers with ease. In his first three seasons, Lopez did not miss a game. In his next three seasons, counting this one? It’ll end up being 134. Lopez previously fractured the same bone in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season and underwent surgery after the 2012-13 season to replace a bent screw in the foot.
When did he get hurt? Perhaps with 4:53 left in the fourth quarter, when he was fouled from behind by Thaddeus Young and went down hard to the floor. Lopez appeared to be grimacing as he waited to shoot the ensuing free throws. He remained in the game, though. You have to wonder whether Lopez will be able to return to being the dominant player he once was. But you can’t question his heart, trying to gut it out on a broken foot.
Now what? The Nets somehow now have to replace his production -- which is basically impossible -- likely with a combination of Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche and Andrei Kirilenko, who is hopeful to return next week. Kirilenko has missed 22 games to back spasms. The onus will be on Deron Williams, Johnson and Paul Pierce even further to step up their games and get the Nets into the playoffs.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Brooklyn Nets may have had championship aspirations going into the season, but, as Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells once said, “you are what your record says you are.”
And right now, they’re 9-17 and going nowhere fast.
Just four days ago, the Nets trounced the Philadelphia 76ers by 36 points. But on Friday night, they were beaten in overtime, 121-120, at the buzzer by that same 7-19 Sixers team -- plus Michael Carter-Williams -- which had lost its previous seven games and 11 of 12.
It doesn’t get much worse than that, does it?
“We gotta be up for everybody,” Nets small forward Paul Pierce said. “It’s not like we’re walking giants. We’re bottom-feeders right now, just like Philadelphia.
“We don’t have the luxury [to come] in here and coast, come into the fourth quarter and turn it up. Those are the great teams that understand that and understand the moment. We’re not there yet.”
Not even close.
So much for being that hard-nosed, defensive-minded squad they set out to be in the offseason. The Nets, who have lost their last two games after giving up a combined 234 points, can’t get a stop or grab a rebound. On Friday night, they gave up 51 percent shooting, allowed 66 points in the paint and were beaten on the backboard, 49-36.
The Nets failed to bring any Friday night.
“I don’t think anybody expected this. It’s baffling to me,” Nets point guard Deron Williams said. “At some point we have to just say enough is enough.”
Williams has said that before.
With shooting guard Joe Johnson (personal reasons) and power forward Kevin Garnett (rest) out of the lineup, the Nets needed Williams and Brook Lopez to step up.
Williams (17 points, season-high 14 assists) had six turnovers and went 5-for-12 from the field, while Lopez played much worse than his final stat line (22 points, seven rebounds) indicated, frequently getting beaten to loose balls. Lopez did not face the media after the game.
“It’s just inexcusable, for us, being one of the biggest teams in the league, to get crushed on the glass every game,” said Pierce, who had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in 44 minutes.
Pierce nearly won the game for the Nets when hit knocked down a 3-pointer with 16.9 seconds left to give his team a 120-119 lead.
But they couldn’t hold it.
Evan Turner capped off a 29-point night by hitting a tough shot over three Brooklyn defenders. It bounced on the rim three times and went in.
The Nets actually defended that shot pretty well. It was all the other breakdowns on that end that proved costly. They are 0-13 when allowing more than 100 points and rank 27th in defensive efficiency.
Remember when Garnett was talking about a top-three D?
“I think we came out soft in the sense of not being aggressive,” Kidd said. “We have to take some pride on the defensive side.”
It was supposed to be their identity. Now it’s just a bad joke.
“We’re trying with the injuries and guys out of the lineup, it’s kind of been inconsistent, but we’re working at it,” Kidd said.
They have a lot to fix. Because right now, they’re a defensive disaster.
“That’s set in, the reality that we can’t rebound the ball or protect our paint,” Kidd said. “Those are the things that we have to work on.”
They didn't get it.
Williams and Lopez weren't as good as their stat lines may have indicated, and the Nets allowed the Sixers to end an eight-game losing streak with a 121-120 overtime loss at Wells Fargo Center.
Evan Turner capped off a 29-point night by hitting the winning shot at the buzzer. It bounced on the rim three times before dropping through the net.
Williams (17 points, season-high 14 assists) had six turnovers, and Lopez (22 points, seven rebounds) was frequently beaten for loose rebounds.
The Nets were outrebounded 49-36 and lost the points in the paint battle, 66-30. They allowed the Sixers to shoot 51 percent from the field.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets (9-17) have lost two games in a row. Brooklyn is 0-13 this season when giving up more than 100 points.
ODDS AND ENDS: Paul Pierce, starting for the first time in six games because Johnson was unable to go, finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 44 minutes.
Mirza Teletovic hit a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with a career-high tying 18 points.
Alan Anderson had 16 of his season-high 26 points in the third quarter.
Williams had his third straight game of 10 or more assists. The last time he did so was Jan. 23-27, 2012. Shaun Livingston had a season-high 11 assists.
The Nets started their 12th different lineup through the first 26 games of the season. They used 13 different starting lineups all of last season.
UP NEXT: The Nets don't play again until Monday night, when they host the Indiana Pacers.
SHORT-HANDED? The Nets will be without Kevin Garnett (rest) and could also be without Joe Johnson (game-time decision, personal). Nets coach Jason Kidd said he had not yet made a decision on who his starters would be. Mirza Teletovic started alongside Garnett the last time the two teams played. Kidd said Paul Pierce could return to the starting lineup if Johnson doesn’t play.
Pierce has come off the bench the past five games since returning from a broken right hand injury, and had his best game of the season in Wednesday night’s loss to the Washington Wizards, scoring 27 points. Johnson had a career-high 10 3-pointers in Monday’s victory over the Sixers, so his presence would obviously be missed should he be unable to go.
CLEANING THINGS UP: In Wednesday’s 113-107 loss to the Wizards, the Nets were out-rebounded by 20, gave up 19 offensive rebounds and allowed Washington to connect on 12 of its 20 3-point attempts. Brooklyn hit a franchise-record 21 3s the last time it faced Philadelphia.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH? The 76ers (7-19) have lost eight straight games -- all without rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who will return to the lineup. Deron Williams will have to bring his A-game again against yet another emerging point guard. The Sixers are second-to-last in defensive efficiency, giving up 106.6 points per 100 possessions. Basically, they don’t defend, and the Nets need to take advantage of that. They do lead the NBA in pace (101.9), so it’s going to an up-and-down affair, which will be to Williams’ liking. Williams is averaging 18 points and 9.2 assists in his past five games.
Their defense was shredded by Washington, they were hurt on pick-and-rolls, gave up 12 3-pointers and allowed late scores. Jason Kidd, though, knows one way to significantly improve the team's defense against Philadelphia tonight.
"Rebound," Kidd said. "Just rebound the ball. That’s all. That closes the possession."
Kidd needs to find a way to get Brook Lopez to rebound more. The 7-footer has been great at scoring, especially in the first half, but he needs to rebound. He has yet to register double-digits in rebounds in a game this season.
"Definitely, no question ... A lot of it is on me," Lopez said of rebounding. "It is just a matter of doing my job."
Lopez was particularly hard on himself about the Wizards' win. He blamed the Nets' pick-and-roll defensive struggles on himself. Kidd, though, says not to put all the blame on Lopez. And he says the rebounding issue is much bigger than Brook.
"It’s not [Lopez], it’s the team," Kidd said. "It’s not just one guy."
Yes, but wouldn't Kidd want to see his 7-foot All-Star average more than just 5.9 rebounds a game?
"We would like to be undefeated, so [there's that]," Kidd joked. "It is just not Brook. It is everybody. Gang rebounding. Team rebounding. It is about the team."
The Nets have three double-doubles (points and rebounds) so far this season. Andray Blatche logged two of them and Mirza Teletovic registered the other one.
Up now: Paul Pierce is starting to find his rhythm as a Net in the most unexpected role.
The Nets may have reinforcements in the near future.
What's next: The Nets face the Sixers for the second time this week at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia, but rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams could play after being out with a knee issue.
Net fact: Lopez has been working on his free-throw shooting. Since shooting a season-worst 6-for-11 from the line against Memphis on Nov. 30, the center has hit 38-of-42 (90.5%) over his last six games. He buried 8-of-9 against Washington on Wednesday.
Net question: With the way Pierce is playing right now, should Kidd keep Pierce in his sixth-man role or put him back in the starting lineup?
And on one side of the court, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry were going through light drills, running, cutting a little and shooting off screens and picks with assistants and players. It was a good sign, considering both are key injured players the Nets can use on their bench.
"They are working ... getting some shots, but good to see those guys getting close," Kidd said. "They are still working on [coming back]."
Kirilenko has missed the past 20 games with a back injury and has not played since Nov. 8. Terry has missed the past 14 games with a knee injury.
The Nets would love to get their two veterans back to bolster the bench before the New Year begins.
D-Will's minutes: In the five games Deron Williams has played since returning from an ankle injury, the Nets point guard has logged 37 or more minutes three times. He played 42 minutes in Wednesday's loss to Washington, as Kidd had to go with Williams on John Wall. And he played 41 minutes in a close loss to Detroit last Friday.
"He’s young," Kidd cracked of Williams' minutes. "No, I went with running him a little high yesterday [against Washington]. We were in the ballgame. And KG [Kevin Garnett], too. But it’s a day they can recover [on Thursday]."
While Williams is averaging 35 minutes since his return, he also is averaging 18 points and 9.2 assists during that span. And that is why the Nets are playing much better than they were without him.
But there probably really isn’t much to discuss in terms of making a switch. After seeing Pierce explode for 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting in Wednesday’s loss to the Wizards, it’s safe to say Kidd probably wants to keep his veteran scorer in the same role for now.
“We haven’t talked yet,” Kidd said after practice, before the Nets traveled to Philadelphia for Friday night's game against the 76ers. “We will talk later on.
“But, we like where Paul’s at right now.”
Kidd doesn’t want to mess with something that appears to be working. This stretch is the most comfortable Pierce has looked as a Net. Even though he is only five games into his return from a broken bone in his hand, Pierce looks like he is gaining steam. He is averaging 15.8 points in his past four games. But he’s really found his rhythm in the last five quarters.
That carried over to Wednesday’s game against the Wizards.
“I am just starting to get things going after the start to the season,” Pierce said. “My hand is feeling good, my groin is feeling good, understanding the system and understanding my spots -- that is about it.”
Pierce insists he does not mind about coming off the bench for the first time to be the team’s sixth man, if that is what the Nets need.
“I mean, I don’t really care,” Pierce said. “I have adjusted. I have been a starter my whole career and I am making an adjustment as a player coming off the bench.
“You just have to watch the game, help the guys on the sideline, you get a chance to see and understand what is going on out there instead of starting out the game. It is definitely a mental adjustment and I think I am making that adjustment and figuring it all out with that role off the bench.”
It’s certainly been a season of change for Pierce. First he had to adapt to life as a Net after being a Celtic his entire career. He moved for the first time in his pro-basketball life and had to accept the trade mentally. Then he had to adjust to being on a new team with a new coach.
The Nets got off to a disappointing start as injuries hindered attempts to build team cohesion. Pierce was slowed by a couple of injuries of his own. When he came back from a broken hand, Pierce returned to a new role off the bench. In some ways, his transition to Brooklyn has been more difficult than Kevin Garnett's.
“We are both trying to figure out how to make this team better on both ends,” said Garnett, who has been trying to give his all despite playing limited minutes. “Not just coming in and being a voice but obviously trying to bring a physical presence to the game.
“[Pierce] was struggling there with a couple of injuries,” Garnett continued. “Obviously his hand, ‘Truth’ is not going to tell you what is going on with him [completely]. He is going to fight through a lot of things, that’s just how he is programmed. I feel like he is semi-healthy enough to be fresh, in these last couple of days [he] has gotten a rhythm. I think Jason leaving him in the Philly game has helped a lot with his rhythm and his timing.”
Pierce had his vintage game going against the Wizards. He was aggressive, hitting perimeter shots and driving hard to the basket. It’s exactly what the Nets need off the bench. Pierce not only provides a proven scorer, but he also is an experienced leader for the second unit.
It could have been easy for Pierce to become disenchanted with his new role at this stage of his career. He certainly did not come to Brooklyn envisioning a 9-16 start, filled with drama and seeing him in a sixth-man role for the first time.
“It is a new team, understanding new teammates, understanding what we are asking of him, being in one place for your whole career and then coming to make the adjustment, it can be tough,” Kidd said of Pierce’s adjustment. “But he is a professional. He is not going to complain. He wants to win.
“We’ve asked him to come off the bench and he has responded and been a true professional.”
Even though he had his best night as a Net against the Wizards, Pierce wasn’t in the mood to talk about his personal gain after the Nets lost a game they felt they should have won.
“It is easy to sit here and talk to you guys about what kind of night I had but the bottom line is I really don’t care,” Pierce said. “We lost the game and that is pretty much all that matters. We come out here and try to win as a team; it is not about how good Paul Pierce is feeling.”
Of course, if Pierce is feeling as good in his new role moving forward as he did against the Wizards, that will matter to the Nets. And Kidd likely won’t have much to discuss with his assistants about moving Pierce back to the starting lineup if that continues.
Yet Lopez was frustrated and disappointed in his return back from an ankle injury that kept him out of two games.
"I felt fine," Lopez said of his return. "I am definitely disappointed in myself though. I felt a little rusty. I was a step slow and I just think I was a step slow more than anything."
Lopez grabbed just five rebounds, committed four turnovers and four fouls. He looked a step slow at times and wasn't nearly enough of a presence on the boards for the Nets, who were outrebounded 51-31. Washington grabbed 19 offensive boards and outscored the Nets 23-3 in second-chance points. That was pretty much the difference in Washington's 113-107 win over the Nets.
The Nets can use more rebounding, particularly from Lopez. When Lopez is aggressive, he can be the difference-maker for the Nets. But he has to provide a major presence for the Nets on the glass. So far, he is averaging six rebounds a game and has yet to grab 10 rebounds in a game so far this season.
"I didn't do a great job of boxing out my guy, whoever it was," Lopez said. "And he kept getting the rebound and scoring."
Lopez did make 8-of-9 free throws and the most important thing is that he played 32 minutes and didn't suffer any setbacks with his ankle.
If Lopez starts rebounding and collecting some double-doubles, the big man will give the Nets another dimension they haven't really had a whole lot of this season.
"We would love for Brook to get a couple more rebounds," Jason Kidd said. "But sometimes on the perimeter, when you are guarding the pick and roll, you are not always underneath the basket to get the rebound. A lot of teams put him in a pick-and-roll situation. I thought he had a great game being out [for two games]. So this is a game for him to build on."
Up now: The Nets let one they felt they should have won get away to the Wizards.
Paul Pierce doesn't care if he starts or keeps coming off the bench.
Up next: Nets practice in East Rutherford.
Net fact: This season, the Nets have had just three double-doubles of the points and rebounds variety. Andray Blatche has two of them and Mirza Teletovic has the other.
Question of the day: What do you think Kidd should do to improve the team's rebounding? Let us know.
But following the Nets' 113-107 loss to the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center, Pierce said he didn't care if he remained a reserve or re-entered the starting lineup.
"You have to watch the game, help the guys on the sideline, you get a chance to see and understand what is going on our there instead of starting out the game. It definitely is a mental adjustment and I think I am making that adjustment and figuring it all out with that role on the bench."
Alan Anderson, the starting small forward, went 0-for-4 from the field and was held scoreless in 19 minutes.
Asked about Pierce's role going forward, Nets coach Jason Kidd said, "I'll talk to the coaches tomorrow about that. He had a great night. If you look back to the Philly game, he had a good Philly game. It wasn't about the score, it was about him getting into a rhythm. He's a scorer. He has been that his whole career. And you can see there was a carryover from the last game. I will talk to my coaches and will talk to him a little bit about a couple of different ideas."
Point guard Deron Williams indicated it was "kinda" Pierce's idea to come off the bench in the first place. Pierce made his first seven shots and finished 10-for-12 from the field in 35 minutes.
Pierce is slowly starting to look like his old self after missing four games due to a broken bone in his right hand.
• Williams put up a nice stat-line -- 15 points and a season-high tying 13 assists -- but he was outplayed by Wizards point guard John Wall (21 points, six assists). Wall is now 3-5 against Williams. Wall made two solid defensive plays on Williams in the fourth quarter: a steal which led to an uncontested layup and a block.
"I could've played a lot better the whole game, I could've been more aggressive," said Williams, who has been very solid since returning from injury. "I just feel like my legs kind of caught up with me tonight and I didn't have that same bounce I've had the last couple games. We'll get it back and hopefully do a better job against Philly."
• After missing the last two games due to a re-sprained left ankle, center Brook Lopez had 22 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes.
"I felt fine," Lopez said. "I am definitely disappointed in myself though. I felt a little rusty and I was a step slow."
And they would’ve ... if they rebounded or defended the 3-point line with any sort of success.
In their 113-107 loss at Barclays Center, the Nets were out-rebounded 51-31, gave up 19 offensive rebounds and 23 second-chance points and allowed the Wizards to shoot 12-for-20 from 3-point range -- 9-for-12 in the first half.
“We need to look at tape and see how we can get better as coaches and players,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said after his team dropped to 9-16. “We scored enough points to win, but there were some rebounds that we couldn’t come up with down the stretch. We are getting better, but we lost a game we felt we could control.”
The Nets came into the game last in 3-point defense (39.8 percent) and 21st in rebounding differential (minus-1.1 per game), so the fact that they struggled in both areas wasn’t much of a surprise.
“It’s tough losing at home, period,” said Paul Pierce, who led the Nets with a season-high 27 points. “You want to try and establish something at home, try to gather some momentum here. Especially going into the holiday, because after the holiday we have a tough road trip.
“This was a tough loss for us. This was a team that we felt like we could beat, but unfortunately they’ve beaten us twice in two close games and we’ll figure this thing out.”
Pierce explained the team’s struggle to rebound.
“They did a good job of putting us in rotation with the pick-and-roll,” Pierce said. “[John] Wall did a great job of putting pressure on the bigs when they helped. [The] weak-side big would crash, leaving a guard on a big trying to box out all night long, and it worked to their advantage. When they didn’t hit the roll man, if he didn’t finish, they caught [the] opposite big on our smalls all night long.”
And 3-point defense?
“A lot of that is positioning,” Pierce said. “Sometimes we get caught in the paint and we have to make the second or third effort to run the guys off the 3-point line. ... And we have to continue to play defense for 24 seconds.”
Wednesday night’s game was decided on two plays. After the Nets cut a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to one, Marcin Gortat came up with a timely offensive rebound and putback while Kevin Garnett was down on the floor to make it 103-100 Wizards with 1:35 left.
“I don’t even know,” Garnett said when asked if there should’ve been a foul called on Gortat. “When you’re tied up things are happening so fast, you know, [it was] that type of night. He was there, there was no call and the play went on.”
Then Bradley Beal proceeded to deliver the dagger, a 3-pointer that gave the Wizards a six-point lead 27 seconds later. The Nets are 0-12 when giving up more than 100 points in a game.
On many nights, shooting 52.7 percent from the field and holding your opponent to 43.2 percent will lead to a win.
Just not on this night. Not on a night when the Nets couldn’t grab a rebound or defend a 3.
“I mean we are playing well and I feel like we have some momentum going,” Garnett said. “Obviously we ran into a talented Washington team who’s playing well also. ... It wasn’t like we were playing Swish cheese.”
NEW YORK -- Brook Lopez returned to the lineup, but the Brooklyn Nets were outplayed in their 113-107 loss to the Washington Wizards Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
What it means: The Nets (9-16) just didn’t seem to want this one. The Wizards beat them on the glass -- winning the rebounding battle, 51-31 and snagging 19 offensive boards -- and from downtown, going 12-for-20 from 3-point range (9-for-12 in the first half). Nets coach Jason Kidd was so desperate for rebounding that he turned to seldom-used forward Reggie Evans in the third. Evans was ineffective.
Defensively, the Nets looked discombobulated, failing to close out on open shooters and struggling with their pick-and-roll coverage. Brooklyn trailed by as many as 12. The Nets would get within one late but couldn’t get over the hump. Marcin Gortat had a huge offensive rebound and putback with 1:35 left to give the Wizards a 103-100 lead, and Bradley Beal delivered the dagger -- a 3 that made it 106-100 with 1:07 remaining.
The Nets are 0-12 when giving up more than 100 points in a game.
Lopez, who missed the past two games due to a sprained left ankle, finished with 22 points and five rebounds. He did not play the final 10:11 of the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul.
Paul Pierce, who came off the bench for the fifth straight game, had a season-high 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting in 35 minutes. He made his first seven shots. Joe Johnson followed up his 37-point game with 20 points.
Deron Williams had a season high-tying 13 assists to go with 15 points but was frequently beaten on defense by a driving John Wall (21 points, six assists). Williams is now 3-5 in his career against Wall. Wall had two huge defensive plays on his counterpart in the fourth, a steal and layup and then a block.
Up next: A day off Thursday, followed by a game in Philadelphia against the 76ers Friday night.
BROOK-IN? Brook Lopez once again is telling reporters he feels like he’ll play. Might not be worth much, though. Lopez has missed the last two games due to a re-sprained left ankle. He felt like he could play Monday, too, and didn’t. Lopez is averaging 24 points on 69 percent shooting in his previous three games. The Nets (9-15) would love to have him back, but there’s no point in rushing anything. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.
ENCORE: Joe Johnson hit a career-high 10 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 37 points in Monday night’s blowout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Johnson had eight 3-pointers and 29 points in the third quarter alone. The Nets hit a franchise-record 21 3s as a team and are shooting 52.6 percent from beyond the arc in their last three games. Defensively, they’re giving up just 93.6 points on 42.2 percent shooting while winning four of their last five.
D-WILL VS. J-WALL: Deron Williams-John Wall will be a fun point guard matchup. Williams is 3-4 in his career against Wall. Williams has obviously playing a lot better of late, averaging 18.8 points and 8.3 assists on 56.5 percent shooting in his last four games. Wall leads the Wizards (10-13) in scoring (19.5 ppg) and dishing (9.3 apg).
"We're just healthy now, a little bit more healthy, so you can see what we can do on the court," Williams said Tuesday.
Since returning from ankle injuries Dec. 10, Williams is averaging 18.8 points and 8.3 assists on 56.5 percent shooting -- 47.1 percent from 3-point range -- in 33.8 minutes. The Nets are 3-1 over that span. In his first nine games, Williams was averaging 9.3 points and 6.0 assists on 40.5 percent shooting -- 37.5 percent from 3-point range -- in 24.1 minutes.
The Nets don't know if Brook Lopez (ankle) will be back Wednesday against the Washington Wizards. He has missed the last two games, though again said he expects to play. Lopez had been averaging 24 points on 69 percent shooting in his previous three games before getting hurt.
Andrei Kirilenko (back) hopes to return before Dec. 28. Jason Terry (knee) will hopefully be back at some point in the near future, too.
The Nets got off to a terrible start, but obviously knew they had to be patient given all the injuries that decimated the team. Joe Johnson is the only starter who has appeared in every game this season.
If Williams and Lopez can stay healthy, there's no reason why the Nets can’t be one of the best teams in the extremely weak Eastern Conference.
Question: Do you agree with Williams that health has been the biggest reason for the turnaround?
In case you missed it: Lopez is questionable, Kidd talked about simplifying the defense and Paul Pierce's relationship with his protective glove appears to be over.
Homecourt advantage: The Nets have won their last three straight games at Barclays Center, outscoring their opponents by nearly 18 points per game (112.0 to 94.3).
Up next: Nets vs. Wizards Wednesday night at home. No shootaround. Stay tuned for updates on Lopez, though they likely won't come until right before game-time.
Final NY Islanders 5 NY Rangers 3 Final/OT Anaheim 3 New Jersey 2
Final Anaheim 5 NY Islanders 3 Final/OT New Jersey 5 Washington 4
5:00 PM ET E Washington Seton Hall 2:00 PM ET Army Rutgers 4:05 PM ET Iona Nevada 2:00 PM ET St. Peter's Hartford 6:00 PM ET Cornell Stony Brook
7:00 PM ET Toronto NY Rangers 7:30 PM ET NY Islanders Detroit 8:00 PM ET New Jersey Chicago
- There are no games scheduled for today.