The Brooklyn Nets were taken by surprise by the Knicks as they looked lifeless and overmatched throughout all four quarters of a terrible 110-81 loss at The Garden on Wednesday night. The Knicks have been pathetic all season long, but have now won 12 of their last 15 and have played with desperation as they try for a playoff spot.
It was the second game of a back-to-back and Nets fans know that hasn’t been good for their team this season. Still, it would have been nice to see some effort from anyone. The best they could get was 16 points from Joe Johnson on 5-for-13 from the floor, 12 points from Deron Williams and 11 points from Alan Anderson. No other players scored more than eight points.
“It was very frustrating the way we got blown out,” Johnson said. “For whatever reason, we had a few guys fighting and a few guys who weren’t fighting. If we’re not all on the same page, you get a lopsided score like that.”
The Nets have gone 30-13 since Jan. 1st and this easily could have been the worst game they played during that stretch. The biggest problem was on defense as they just didn’t play any. They were beaten on the boards 41-23, they forced nine turnovers, but turned the ball over 16 times themselves, and they didn’t have a single block all game long. Couple that with 40 percent shooting to the Knicks’ 60 percent and things just got ugly.
The Nets had clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Houston Rockets the night before, but they failed to keep up with the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors beat the same Rockets on Wednesday night to move 2.5 games ahead of the Nets in the Atlantic Division. With eight games left in the season, time is running out to catch them and to avoid facing the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets could still earn the home-court advantage if the catch the Bulls, but, like the Raptors, they are also 2.5 games ahead of them in the standings. Luckily, they have a somewhat easy schedule the rest of the way with the Miami Heat being the only team with an above .500 record they have left to play. However, they have three more back-to-back series to play which could easily mean at least three loses.
Not helping the situation has been the absence of Kevin Garnett, who has now missed 17 games with back spasms. Andrei Kirilenko also continues to miss time with an ankle injury. Marcus Thornton returned to action and played 20 minutes on Wednesday. He has struggled with a back injury and has missed a few games recently as well.
The Nets are off on Thursday night and head back to Brooklyn on Friday where they will face the Detroit Pistons. Then it’s off to Philadelphia on Saturday which should be an easy win, but considering it’s the second day of back-to-backs it isn’t guaranteed.