Most of us get 15 minutes of fame. The Nets got 15 minutes of hope. At the end of the second quarter, they were a rimmed-out Joe Johnson heave from a three-point deficit. They’d overcome worse moments in this series to sneak out victories. There was some hope, if tempered, that this would again be a competitive game until the final seconds.
Fifteen minutes later, it was all over.
You don’t need to re-live those moments when everything went awry, but the gist of it: the Hawks starters put on their finest clinic of the series to open the third quarter, opened the half on a 23-3 run, and the suddenly-listless Nets had no response. Turnovers by Deron Williams, missed layups by Thaddeus Young, and missed defensive assignments turned a competitive series into a death march. This was the game most of us expected to see four times this series, but the Hawks only needed to pull it off once.
The Nets enter yet another offseason with more questions than answers, few draft picks and fewer certainties. Their biggest players are on the trade block or can opt out. Away we go. It’s been real.
The stats: 19 PTS, 7-15 FG, 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 BLK
Rough start for Lopez, who took more than one quick & fruitless shot in the first quarter, and though he made up for it offensively, the Hawks took advantage of his defensive shortcomings. Toss in a few ill-timed long two-pointers, and with the whole team floundering, that was all she wrote.
This might be Lopez’s final game in a Nets uniform.