- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: One of those closed-door, players-only meetings is in order. Some accountability would be nice. And that Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade needs to get done. Now. Not in a day, a week, a month. Now! Because, right now, the New Jersey Nets are a bad basketball team.
As if that wasn't painfully obvious before.
The Nets put up their second clunker in as many nights, getting obliterated by the Milwaukee Bucks, 115-92 at the Prudential Center on Saturday. Other than a couple emphatic dunks by rookies Derrick Favors and Ben Uzoh, there were no positives the Nets could take away from the blowout. Their defense, which allowed the Bucks to shoot 58.3 percent from the floor, was atrocious. As was Brook Lopez (five points, one rebound) They brought no energy. They were out-hustled. And that's not going to make head coach Avery Johnson happy -- especially considering his favorite football team, the New Orleans Saints, were eliminated from the playoffs.
New Jersey (10-27 overall, 7-10 home) clearly missed injured point guard Devin Harris, who sat out with a right quad contusion. His 16.6 points, 6.8 assists and consummate professionalism and leadership were sorely missed on the court.
TURNING POINT: The first quarter. All 12 minutes of it. That's all it took for the game to be decided.
The Nets trailed 28-15 at the end of the opening stanza. The reason? Where do we start. First off, they couldn't make shots. They made just seven of 20 attempts from the field. Second, they allowed the NBA's worst offense to shoot 62.5 percent. And finally, Lopez was nonexistent. Despite the absence of Bucks center Andrew Bogut from the lineup, the 22-year-old center went just 1-for-3 from the floor with no rebounds in 9 minutes, 27 seconds of action in the first quarter.
The Nets ended up cutting a 15-point deficit to seven late in the second quarter, only to see Earl Boykins knock down a 3 and follow a Kris Humphries jumper with one of his own to make it a 55-45 Bucks lead at the half. The Nets never got within single digits again the rest of the way. Milwaukee started the third quarter on a 12-2 run to take a 20-point lead. That's when the boos started. They didn't stop. The fans who paid to witness this one in-person deserve their money back. And those that were watching on television probably turned on the Jets-Colts game. For the record, it got to as bad as 26.
STAR OF THE GAME: Normally in an outcome like this, the home team doesn't deserve one. But Humphries quietly put up a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Backup point guard Jordan Farmar also deserves praise. He put up 20 points and added a game-high 10 assists while starting in Harris' place.
UP NEXT: A flight to the left coast. The Nets went 1-3 in their first trip out west. They'll try to at least equal that record during their second one -- another four-gamer -- which begins in Phoenix against the Suns on Wednesday. The Nets are a lowly 3-17 away from The Rock.