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Friday, February 22, 2013
No Joe, not enough O for D-Will's Nets

By Mike Mazzeo

Jeremy Lin, Deron Williams
Jeremy Lin didn't outplay Deron Williams, but he did get more cheers during pregame introductions.
Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams tweaked his left ankle in the third quarter of Friday night’s 106-96 loss to the Houston Rockets at Barclays Center.

“It should be,” Williams replied when asked if his ankle was OK. “It’s something I’ve been dealing with all season, so I’m kind of used to it now.”

Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez scored a game-high 27 points in a losing effort.
Williams, who received his third set of cortisone shots in both ankles on Thursday, finished with 15 points and 13 assists, but shot just 5-for-17 from the field in 40 minutes. The 28-year-old point guard went 1-for-9 in the second half, and did not score in the fourth quarter.

“I missed some shots. I couldn’t get anything going in the second half,” Williams said. “I think that was the biggest thing. We just struggled to score.”

The Nets shot just 44 percent from the field and went 10-for-30 from 3-point range. On the other hand, the Rockets shot 53.2 percent and went 16-for-30 from beyond the arc.

“It’s not about one or two guys,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “They shot 53.3 percent from 3-point range, we shot 33.3 percent. We didn’t do some of the things we needed to do offensively or defensively. I thought we played hard, particularly in the second half. I thought our effort was really good in the second half. We just didn’t make enough good plays or [made] too many mistakes to beat a good team.”

The Nets (33-23) got down by as many as 15 early in the fourth quarter, but rallied within three. Clearly they missed Joe Johnson, who sat out his first game of the season due to a sore left heel.

Johnson is expected to return for Sunday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov attended the game, and sat in his usual box at midcourt.

But Prokhorov’s team couldn’t extend its winning streak to five, leaving Prokhorov to exit the $1 billion arena surrounded by his staff and security personnel.

“We kept crawling back in there but we just weren’t able to get over the hump,” said Brook Lopez, who had 27 points and 6 rebounds. “I think they were shooting the ball well. We needed to run them off the line a bit, but I think we definitely played our best basketball in the second half.”

After Keith Bogans missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 2:10 left, the Rockets (31-26) closed on a 9-2 run to put the game away. James Harden and Carlos Delfino led the way for Houston with 22 points each.

The Nets have now lost 13 consecutive games to the Rockets dating back to Dec. 12, 2006.

“They did more of the things that they wanted to do than we were able to do,” Carlesimo said.