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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
D-Will, Iso Joe vanish at crunch time

By Mike Mazzeo

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are supposed to big-time performers. But on Tuesday night, Brooklyn’s $190 million backcourt, preferring to defer to Brook Lopez, disappeared down the stretch.

During the final 2 1/2 minutes, as the Nets were outscored 10-0 by the Lakers, Williams and Johnson combined to take -- and miss -- just one shot, a meaningless 3-point attempt by Johnson with 15 seconds left and the outcome already very much decided.

“When (Brook’s) going like that, it’s kind of hard to go away from him,” Williams said of Lopez, who finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 40 minutes.

“I don’t think I was aggressive enough the whole second half. I don’t think Joe was aggressive enough the whole second half.”

After the game, Lopez, who went 0-for-2 from the field and blew a pair of defensive assignments in those final 2 1/2 minutes, accepted blame for the loss. Doesn’t seem fair, though.

After all, Williams and Johnson combined to go 9-for-28 from the field and score 26 points. Williams had six turnovers and just four of his 15 points in the final three quarters. Johnson went 4-for-15, was a minus-seven and left the locker room quickly before reporters could ask him about what went wrong.

“A little bit of it was we couldn’t get our shots to fall, so we wanted to get other people involved,” Williams said. “But that’s a time we need to step up.”

Since getting off to a 12-2 start under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, the Nets have won just two of their last six games. During that span, Johnson is averaging just 12.8 points on 35.9 percent shooting. Williams, since coming down with the flu on Jan. 30, is averaging 11.7 points on 38.2 percent shooting, 5.7 assists and 4.7 turnovers (three games).

Time for these two guys to pick it up. They’ll have a chance Wednesday night in Detroit.