New Jersey Nets: Washington Wizards

Nets stink up the joint again

March, 21, 2012

Their superstar? Ejected. Their coach? Ejected.

Their losing streak? Four.

Their playoff hopes? Ha! Good one.

Deron Williams and Avery Johnson were kicked out of Wednesday night’s 108-89 loss to the Wizards during the third quarter.

They were the lucky ones. Everyone else had to gut it out.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, chants of "Jay-Z! Jay-Z!" and the standard boos resonated from a clearly frustrated crowd of 10,097 at Prudential Center.

"Well, again, we're disappointed, but we're not an elite team yet, OK?" Johnson said after his team plummeted to 15-33, the fourth-worst record in the NBA.

AP Photo/Julio CortezAvery Johnson made an early exit, so P.J. Carlesimo had to take over.

"We don't have much margin for error. So we can't say, 'Well, we played against New Orleans, Charlotte or Washington, you guys should come out there and beat those teams by 20 points.' That’s not [possible]. We gotta play great basketball. We don't have much margin for error."

Johnson normally tries to look on the bright side of things. But even he had trouble putting on his rose-colored glasses after this particular debacle, a debacle in which the Nets gave up 14 offensive rebounds and made 16 of their 38 field goals inside the paint.

"[The effort] could've been better. It could've been better," Johnson said. "And you know I'm always one that tries to be really, really positive, at times with our team, but it could've been better."

Before his second ejection as a Net -- and first since Feb. 2, 2011, against Philadelphia -- Johnson was already upset that the officials missed a pair of eight-second violations that were clear as day. So it was only a matter of time before he blew a gasket.

With 5:23 left in the third period and the Nets trailing 70-64, Williams drove inside, hoisted up a shot and thought he was fouled, but no call was made. John Wall hit a 19-footer on the other end to put Washington up by eight.

The Nets called timeout at the 5:18 mark, and Williams was talking with referee Josh Tiven. It didn't appear to be a heated conversation, but things quickly escalated. Tiven hit Williams with one T, then another, and just like that the 27-year-old All-Star had been tossed for the second time in his career -- both coming this season.

Jordan Crawford connected on the ensuing free throws before Johnson got the gate for giving Tiven an earful. Crawford hit those two freebees as well. Just like that, it was 76-64, and the Nets never recovered.

"It was just a difference of opinion," Johnson said. "We'll leave it at that."

Williams wasn't in the locker room to explain what happened. He now has three technicals in his last two games, and hasn’t addressed the media in either of them.

"You know those guys, they care," Kris Humphries said. "Coach cares, Deron cares, so you get frustrated and it happens from time to time."

Newcomer Gerald Wallace wasn't particularly happy with how the game was officiated.

"Washington got the benefit of the doubt on everything," he said, without getting into specifics because he didn't want to be fined. "You guys watched the game. I'm not saying we're the Lakers or the San Antonio Spurs or somebody, but we played just as hard as the Wizards played and it just felt like they were just more favored than us."

Before the game, Williams said the last 19 games wouldn't have any effect on his decision to stay with the Nets or leave at the end of the season. Phew.

Consider: During the team's four-game skid, it has blown a 12-point fourth-quarter lead to the 10-34 Hornets; failed to finish down the stretch against the 16-26 Cavaliers; and been massacred by the 10-34 Wizards -- all at home.

The Nets, who have lost six of their last seven, are 5-18 at home, by the way. And they can’t use not having Brook Lopez as an excuse. New Orleans, Cleveland and Washington are bad. Just not as bad as the Nets have been, though.

“You know, we’re just not clicking. It’s just tough basketball right now,” Humphries said. “We've just gotta stay after it, it's been tough. You feel like you're beating yourself at times and it's not fun to play like that.”

Are the Nets trying to tank so they can get their top-3 protected first-rounder back? Or are they just this bad? Either way, it isn’t pretty.

Remember when the Nets were on the verge of getting Dwight Howard and the Knicks were stinking up the joint? Those were the days, huh?

Rapid Reaction: Wizards 108, Nets 89

March, 21, 2012
Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets lost their fourth straight game on Wednesday night -- but Deron Williams and Avery Johnson weren't around long enough to see the end. The point guard and coach were ejected during the third quarter of the Nets' 108-89 setback to the Wizards at Prudential Center. Wonder what Jay-Z thought. He was sitting next to the bench, after all. And the crowd chanted his name once the game was far out of reach.

The Nets are now 15-33 overall and 5-18 at home. Williams had all 17 of his points in the first half for the Nets. He added four assists and three rebounds, and shot 6-for-15 from the field. The Nets trailed by as many as 19, shot 36.9 percent from the floor and scored 36 points in the second half.

TURNING POINT: A 12-0 third-quarter run -- which included the ejections of both Williams and Johnson after Williams was upset about not getting a foul call on a drive to the basket -- gave the Wizards a commanding 78-64 lead.

HUMP DAY: Kris Humphries finished with his 21st double-double of the season, scoring 13 points while grabbing 16 rebounds.

G-EEZ: In his third game as a Net, Gerald Wallace scored 13 points and grabbed three rebounds, but opened up missing six of his first seven shots from the field and wound up connecting on just five of his 17 attempts.

NICE DEBUT: Nene, who was coveted by the Nets in free agent but ended up re-signing with the Nuggets before being traded to Washington at the deadline, had 22 points and 10 rebounds in his debut with the Wizards.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: D-Will split a pick-and-roll, faked a behind-the-back pass and finished a layup to tie the game at 48 in the second quarter.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: MarShon Brooks shot 2-for-9 from the field on Wednesday night. In his last six games, the rookie shooting guard is 17-for-58 from the field.

UP NEXT: Nets at Hawks, Friday night

Rapid Reaction: Nets 90, Wizards 84

December, 26, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets tipped off the 2011-12 campaign the right way, rallying back from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to score a 90-84 season-opening victory over the Wizards on Monday night in Washington, D.C.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the second-largest comeback win for the Nets in the last 15 seasons.

D-WILL'S WAY: Deron Williams looked like his usual self, stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of a game-high 23 points, eight assists and eight rebounds on 8-for-21 shooting -- including 4-for-11 from 3-point range. The 27-year-old superstar asserted himself on the offensive end, both by knocking down shots from all over the floor and finding his teammates for open looks.

Williams was seen grabbing his right hand with 4:13 remaining after John Wall drove into him. He didn’t seem to be hampered at all, though. With Williams on the bench, the Wizards took a 74-66 lead early in the fourth quarter, but once he came back in the game the Nets took over, playing tenacious defense while outscoring Washington 24-10 over the final 10:51.

BOO THAT MAN: Apparently, Kris Humphries isn't just hated in New York. Wizards fans also booed Humphries every time he touched the ball. Boobirds aside, the 26-year-old power forward picked up right where he left off last season, notching his first double-double of 2011-12: 21 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. He finished 9-for-14 from the field, and came up with a huge deflection which led to a win-clinching steal in the closing seconds. Humphries' 16 rebounds are the most by a Net in a season opener since Jamie Feick had 17 in 1999.

TURNING POINT: The Nets trailed 38-17 with 7:21 left in the second quarter, but they closed the opening half on a 20-7 run to go into the locker room down eight. Third-string point guard Sundiata Gaines ignited the comeback with four points.

UGLY START: The Nets turned the ball over on their first three offensive possessions, missed 12 of their first 13 shots and quickly trailed 26-13 after the first quarter. It wasn't until they began driving the ball to the rim instead of settling for 3-pointers that they began to climb back into the game.

DEBUTANTES: Rookie first-round pick MarShon Brooks scored six points on 3-for-7 shooting in his NBA debut. Recent acquisition Mehmet Okur went scoreless in 18 minutes. Ex-Knick Shawne Williams also didn't score in 15 minutes. Another ex-Knick, Shelden Williams, played nine minutes. The Nets were outscored by 19 in that span, according to ESPN Stats.

UNSUNG HERO: Johan Petro, who was forced into emergency starter duty at center, scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds.

STAT SO? The Nets didn't take their first lead of the evening until the 5:32 mark of the third quarter when D-Will drained a 3 to put New Jersey up 58-57. ... They shot just 6-for-27 from 3-point range, but outrebounded Washington 58-39. ... The Nets improved to 18-18 all-time in season openers.

NETS NOTES: Petro, Humphries, Damion James, Anthony Morrow and D-Will made up the starting five. ... Rookie second-round pick Jordan Williams (dehydration) was the only Net who was unavailable.

UP NEXT: The last home opener in New Jersey: Nets vs. Hawks, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.



Brook Lopez
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8