When the Nets were trailing by 27 points with 8:30 left in the first half it looked like this was going to be another blowout loss, but there they were in the fourth quarter tied at 92-92 with 3:57 left to play and suddenly it looked like they would have a miraculous turnaround and their first winning streak of the season.
It wouldn’t happen though as the Nets shooters went cold and shot 1-for-9 with 3 turnovers in the final three minutes. Their lone shot was an uncontested dunk by Alan Anderson that the Lakers let them have because they were up by three points with 9.8 seconds left at the time.
“I thought in the last three or four minutes we got great looks at the basket,” Kevin Garnett said afterward. “(Joe Johnson) and myself, (Paul Pierce) had two shots that were in and out. That’s how it goes. We spotted them in the first quarter, 34-18, and then we were fighting up hill ever since. We fought, we gave ourselves a chance to win at home and that’s what you want. Those same shots I have confidence that we can knock those down.”
The most painful of those eight missed shots was easily Pierce’s three attempt, which would have tied it, with 2.2 seconds left.
“We were getting some great looks not only myself but my teammates as well,” Pierce said. “I’m just frustrated because I wanted the ball to go in. Eventually I know that these shots will fall for me.”
The Nets start looked like an extension of their poor fourth quarter from Tuesday night where they nearly coughed up a big lead. All year they have struggled to defend the perimeter and that was no different Wednesday. As they left perimeter shooters open early, the Lakers knocked down big threes to give themselves a three point lead, and then six, nine and suddenly it was 15-4 and it looked like another one of those nights.
It got really bad late in the first when the Nets cut the lead to seven, 25-18, before the Lakers went on an 23-3 run that left the Nets trailing 48-21.
“The first quarter was pretty disastrous,” Pierce said. “We turned the ball over, we gave up threes. This is a three-point shooting team. We just need to do a better job of following the game plan.”
A funny thing happened after that, the Nets went on their own 15-0 run. Then they even played well in the third quarter and outscored the Lakers 28-23 to cut the lead to nine points headed into the fourth.
“We were just moving the basketball, getting good looks and we were able to make some stops,” Johnson said. “Especially in the first quarter we couldn’t get stops. They were free flowing, they had a lot of confidence, but in the second half we tightened up our defense, we were getting rebounds and buckets.”
A lot of things went right for the Nets in the second half just to get back in the game. Normally those are things to feel good about too, but this was just another loss. They fall to 4-11 and have nine out of their last 11.
“It’s tough, we’re still learning,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, we’ll learn before it’s too late, before we’re completely out of the playoff mix. We still have time, still need to get healthy. We’ve just got to hold down the fort better than what we’ve been doing until our main guys come back.”
HIT ME: There were 8.3 seconds left in the game when something odd happened. Tyshawn Taylor, who was being removed from the game, walked into Jason Kidd on the sidelines and caused him to spill his soda. What was he doing with a soda at such a time? Well it seems that he may have been trying to get an extra timeout.
When reviewing the video it appears that Kidd looked at Taylor, said “hit me” and then proceeded to spill his soda. Afterward, Taylor pretended that he didn’t know what was going on.
“I didn’t even know that he was holding nothing,” Taylor said while trying to play innocent. “Coach was drinking soda on the sidelines. I was like, ‘what is he doing?’ That was the first time anything like that happened. I usually try to avoid coaches because I’m mad that I’m coming out. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
When asked if that could potentially ice a free throw shooter (Jodie Meeks was at the line at the time) Taylor admitted that it could have, but still tried to pretend like he didn’t know what was going on. “It might ice a free throw shooter and be a timeout when you don’t have one, but that wasn’t the thought process. He was just in my way. I was like, “coach, get out of my way, bro.’”
“The cup slipped out of my hand as I was getting Ty out,” Kidd said. “Sweaty palms. I was never good with the ball. in the heat of the battle you’re trying to get guys in and out of the game and the coke fell out of my hand.”
ANOTHER ANKLE INJURY: The Nets had a scary moment happen to them with 2:23 left in the third when Andray Blatche hurt his ankle (Brook Lopez and Deron Williams are already out with sprained ankles). He stayed in the game to shoot a couple of free throws, but came out quickly after that and then didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“I’m good,” said Blatche, who has already missed one practice this season, but no games, with a sprained ankle. “I’m OK. I sprained my ankle, but I’m fine. The good thing is that it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow and I’ll have time to rest it.”
When asked if he would play on Friday, Blatche replied, “definitely.”
#MT3: Mirza Teletovic played a solid game on Sunday during his limited stints, but really got a good opportunity Wednesday night and made the most out of it. He played 20 minutes, shot 4-of-8, finished with 17 points and also had five rebounds. It was easily the best game of his NBA career.
“He was great defensively and offensively,” Kidd said of Mirza. “Not just his shooting but his defense, rebounding, blocking shots, doing the little things. On the offensive end, he definitely picked us up.”
“I don’t think people really know about how physical I am, but I can really do many more things than just shoot, just shoot three pointers,” Teletovic said. “This is what we need and this is what I try to bring every night as much as I can.”
FINAL QUOTE: “I know that it’s going to turn around, I’ve been in this situation before,” Pierce said. “I was on a Boston team that was under .500 going into the All-Star break, we weren’t playing well, look up and we were one quarter away from being in the finals. I believe that I’ll turn this around and our team will turn this around.”