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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.
What happened: The Nets got blown out by seven.
Where they stand: With the 91-84 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Nets fall back to .500, now 30-30 with 22 games remaining. They’re the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind the Washington Wizards for the fifth seed, and four games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead.
The Stats: The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Brooklyn. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams dropped 18 points apiece, Johnson adding a team-high seven rebounds and Williams a team-high four assists.
This Just About Says It All:
The Nets missed their first 17 three-point attempts and finished 4-30 from three-point range on the day, and this one is indicative of how it went: a good look that went incredibly awry.
This is the type of game the Nets should play as far as offensive process. They created open shots within the flow of their offense. What was so maddening about the 26 misses is how many of them should have gone down. They got open corner three-point attempts and open wing attempts. They lost a game by seven when they missed 26 three-point attempts. This should have been an ugly win. It ended as an uglier loss.
How Bad Is 13.3 Percent? At 4-30, the Nets put up the worst three-point percentage in NBA history of any team taking 30 or more three-point attempts in a game.
Game Grades: Read ‘em here.
Second Return: Paul Pierce returned to Boston for the second time since the offseason trade that sent him to Brooklyn. The first time was a tender, emotional affair for Pierce and Kevin Garnett (who is fighting back spasms and didn’t make the trip), replete with non-stop cheers and video tributes. Though this return was a bit more muted than January, Pierce earned yet another standing ovation from the crowd upon his entrance.
What trade? Of the nine players included in that famous offseason trade, just two — Pierce and former Nets forward Kris Humphries — actually suited up. D.J. White was immediately waived, as was Kris Joseph. Garnett stayed in Brooklyn to rest. MarShon Brooks got dealt. Ditto for Jason Terry. Keith Bogans left the Celtics indefinitely. Gerald Wallace is out for the season.
At one point, Pierce had Humphries isolated on the right side, and it looked like Pierce would get a decent layup attempt. But Humphries stuck with him and swatted his layup attempt off the backboard, ricocheting the ball about 20 feet. It was a weird moment for the Boston crowd, who doesn’t like Kris Humphries, loves Paul Pierce, but also loves the Celtics.
Andrei Kirilenko Bein’ Fun, Part I:
Here’s Andrei Kirilenko, pulling out one of those wily veteran moves you love to see, fooling Kelly Olynyk into posting up on him and pulling away at the last second to make him fall to the floor.
As a semi-tangent: I think pulling the chair on a post player is the best way to embarrass him. Block his shot? At least he got the attempt up. Force him to pass out? Yawn. But pulling the chair is such a mental “F you” to the post-up player. Post play is about footwork, strength, and finesse, and a guy who gets the chair pulled out from under him loses all three simultaneously. It’s called pulling the chair out because it looks like you just got snuck in front of all your friends at a dinner table, and you’re lying on the floor like an idiot with no recourse.
Don’t believe me? After Olynyk tossed himself to the ground, he missed two layups, hit a jumper outside of the paint, and then fouled out. Welcome to the NBA, rook.
Zero-Point Shootout: To reiterate: the Nets couldn’t hit anything from the perimeter, missing their first 17 — yes, 17 — three-pointers before Deron Williams finally put one down to start the second half. You read that right: they missed all 17 of their three-point attempts in the first half.
My Thoughts At The Half: 0-17?!?!?!
Nobody On The Nets Can Hit A 3, So, Naturally…
As you’d expect, that’s Andray Blatche, burying a corner three-pointer when no one on the Nets could hit a three on a basket fifteen feet wide. Blatche can only build Ikea furniture when it doesn’t come with instructions.
Deflecting: The Nets continue their torrid rate of deflections, forcing 28 or more turnovers for the third straight game and creating 26 points out of those turnovers. But they had no answer for Boston’s three-point shooting and got thoroughly abused on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 51-28.
The Rookie Battle: Rookie centers Mason Plumlee and Kelly Olynyk went back-and-forth at each other for a few possessions, which was fun. Olynyk tried dunking on Plumlee, Plumlee tried sneaking reverses on him. Olynyk out-dueled him overall, but also fouled out.
Olynyk also got into a fun battle with Shaun Livingston in the first quarter; Livingston tried to hit a layup after a whistle and Olynyk kept trying to stop him. Livingston ended up staring him down and trash-talking him a bit.
Speaking of Shaun… Livingston had arguably his worst game of the season, committing a few pointless fouls and fouling out without scoring a point. He looked oddly tentative for a player who has his vision.
Andrei Kirilenko Bein’ Fun, Part II:
Teletomiss: Mirza Teletovic had another quiet night: 0-2 shooting, 0-1 from 3, and just seven minutes of play. He’s shot just 27.3 percent from three-point range since his breakout game against the Dallas Mavericks on January 24th.
Weird And-One: The Nets cut the lead significantly in the third quarter with a flurry of sudden scoring, and a tough and-one layup by Marcus Thornton brought the Nets to within 70-68. Except the free throw wasn’t from Thornton, but from Joe Johnson, because the referees ruled that Johnson was fouled on the screen, not Thornton on the shot. It was confusing.
Injuries: Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Pierce both felt the wrath of the injury bug: Kirilenko hit the ground hard on a deflection, and Pierce felt a “stinger” in his neck. It’s the second straight game he’s come off the floor to have it looked at, but it’s apparently something he’s dealt with for some time.
Paul Pierce said his shoulder issue is a "stinger" and something that's been bothering him the "last few years."
— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) March 8, 2014
Ian Eagle, Out Of Context: “You could go au natural.”
Marquis Teague, Confusing Fans:
I want some Jordan's so bad
— Marquis Teague (@marquisteague25) March 7, 2014
Chicken not shoes
— Marquis Teague (@marquisteague25) March 7, 2014
Across the river: The New York Knicks beat up on the 21-40 Utah Jazz, winning 108-81 at Madison Square Garden. Carmelo Anthony dropped 29 points and 8 assists in the win, denying his alleged conversation with Joakim Noah about leaving New York for Chicago after the game.
Next up: The Nets play the 22-40 Sacramento Kings on Sunday in Brooklyn, in a homecoming for former Nets forward Reggie Evans and a chance for new Nets guard Marcus Thornton to take on his former team.