Slow start dooms Nets once again

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
10:30
PM ET
The New Jersey Nets' lineup with 8:14 remaining on Tuesday night looked like this: Ben Uzoh, Stephen Graham, Brendan Wright, Johan Petro, Dan Gadzuric.

Yes, things had to go pretty poorly for that lineup to be assembled. They were trailing 92-70 at the time. And once again, it was an abysmal first quarter that did the Nets in.

Here's how head coach Avery Johnson broke it down:

"First quarters we have been getting off to really poor starts. We were cooking good there for a minute. I think the score was [6]-2 and we made three defensive errors in a row, two of which let to 3-pointers and then the onslaught began. There was a stretch where we turned the ball over. We are just not quick enough when we turn the ball over and get in transition. It was the culmination of defensive errors, poor offense, which lead to them having a 34-21 first quarter lead. Right now with the state of our team, we are not good enough to survive early poor starts."

The Nets did hold a 6-2 first quarter lead and a 19-17 edge, only to falter as Houston ended the opening period on a 17-2 run. The Rockets ended up knocking down 5-for-8 3-pointers, while holding New Jersey to 37.5 percent from the field.

According to the Nets' public relations staff, the 34 points was one shy of the team-high for the season. The Nets surrendered 35 against the Washington Wizards on March 20.

New Jersey (23-50), which lost 112-87, has now put together back-to-back 50-loss seasons for the first time since 1999-00 (31-51) and 2000-01 (26-56).

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Johnson
PTS AST STL MIN
15.5 3.7 0.9 35.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 7.1
AssistsD. Williams 6.3
StealsJ. Jack 1.2
BlocksB. Lopez 1.6