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Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Starting Five: Nets need second-half boost

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets should just play the third quarter.

Nothing else seems to matter.

Through the first 12.2 percent of the season, when the Nets lose the third, they lose the game. When they win the third, they win the game.

Monday night was just the latest example.

The Nets (3-7) shot 3-for-18 from the field and were outscored 27-15 in the third en route to a 108-98 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Barclays Center.

“That falls on me not having players ready to start the second half,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said.

In their seven losses, the Nets (3-0 winning third, 0-7 losing third) have been outscored 55 points in the third -- an average of 7.9 points per third.

It was a problem last season. And it’s still a problem this season.

Lost in it all: Shaun Livingston played really well, scoring a season-high 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Livingston is making the league minimum. He was signed because Kidd wanted him.

“I’m just trying to stay aggressive,” Livingston said. “I talk to the coaches; just trying to be an extension of them while I’m on the floor. Just get their advice. Just try to do the best I can in my role to help us win games.”

In case you missed it: Kidd accepted blame for Monday night’s loss. The Nets were without Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Andrei Kirilenko. There is no timetable for their returns.

Question: What can Kidd do to get his players playing better in the third quarter?

What’s next: The Nets return to practice Tuesday. Ohm Youngmisuk will have you covered.