It was the play that defined a dud of a night for the Brooklyn Nets: with a loose ball seemingly rolling out of bounds and a sure turnover happening if he touched it, Brook Lopez elected not to track it down, waiting instead for it to roll out-of-bounds.
But Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder had other ideas, racing downcourt towards the ball before it rolled out, and Lopez realized it a smidge (or seven) too late.
Crowder ended up drawing a foul on Darius Morris, who had run the floor with Crowder, and he hit two free throws to put the Celtics up nine late in the third quarter.
“I didn’t realize Crowder was behind me,” Lopez said at his locker, staring at a finite point in the ground just in front of his feet for the entire duration. “It was just a very poor night for me. I expect more of myself.”
“He was being lazy,” coach Lionel Hollins said after the game. “That’s all it is.”
The Nets eventually lost 89-81, and most of the team pointed to the hustle plays, or lack thereof, as reasons for the loss.
“The ball’s rolling down the floor, and a couple of us aren’t even running,” Mason Plumlee said. “Those are inexcusable plays. So we have to own it, make sure it doesn’t happen again, and move forward.”
When asked if the Nets were out-hustled, Plumlee simply said, “No question. It hurts to say that, but that’s what happened.”
The Nets committed 18 turnovers on the night, leading to 16 Celtics points, while forcing just six out of the Celtics.