Thoughts on the First Quarter (and a game, I guess): Washington Wizards 97, New Jersey Nets 77

Thoughts on the First Quarter (and a game, I guess): Washington Wizards 97, New Jersey Nets 77

Avery Johnson waits on Sasha Vujacic to get it going. Either that or Troy Murphy farted on the bench again. •AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Box ScoreTruthaboutitBullets Forever

I was worried this might happen. I think all Nets fans and writers need to put a moratorium on the expression “worst loss of the season” until we’re in the middle of April and have completed the season. Because after experiencing what many derided as their worst loss of the season on Saturday night against the woeful Timberwolves, the Nets outdid themselves in last night’s 97-77 loss to the Washington Wizards, two days after grabbing what may have been their best win of the season. The inconsistency is dizzying.

Fortunately, if you were only able to catch the beginning of the game, you pretty much saw everything you needed to see. After the first quarer, the Nets were never truly in it, cutting it as close as 13 a few times in the third, but trailing by more than 20 for the majority of the night. For those of you who made the early exit, I hope you had a nice evening. Maybe a few drinks, or a fun movie (have you seen The Fighter yet? Christian Bale is absolutely amazing). If you actually stuck it out and watched all four quarters… what’s wrong with you?

The Nets were embarrassingly awful on the offensive end in the first quarter – probably as bad as an offensive quarter as I’ve seen them play the past two seasons. They started the game 1-11 and it wasn’t until the 3:55 mark when they even made their second field goal, a three-pointer from Jordan Farmar. Setting the tone for the offensive futility, the game started with JaVale McGee blocking Devin Harris (who would leave the game in the third quarter with a quad injury) twice near the rim. To get a sense for exactly how bad the Nets were in the first, here’s a visual:

All those X’s are very bad things.

The team was actually more efficient from 15-feet and out (3-12) than at closer to the rim (2-10).  Meanwhile, here’s the first quarter roll call for shooting: Devin Harris, 0-5; Travis Outlaw, 0-3; Sasha Vujacic, 1-4; Derrick Favors, 0-2; Brook Lopez, 1-2.

Now wait a second – are you telling me the Nets were 5-22 for the first quarter and their “star” center only attempted two field goals? I don’t understand why Lopez’s inconsistencies and disappearing acts this season still find ways to shock me, but they do. Fortunately for him, if the trade rumors come to fruition, Lopez may be able to lurk in the background for the rest of his Nets career as shots are being taken in large volume by Carmelo Anthony and Rip Hamilton.

In addition to poor shot selection, the Nets also managed to get themselves blocked by Wizards players 6 times n the first quarter (and 10 for the game). While you could credit Washington’s defense for the performance, their defensive efficiency entering the game of 105.4 (tied for 19th in the league) is nothing to indicate that Nets were playing the 93 Knicks or 08 Celtics here.

The Nets were so repulsive on offense, I honestly didn’t even focus on how they played defense. I don’t remember seeing anything to egregious, though the Wizards did score 30 points in the first quarter and were shooting close to 59 percent at halftime (finishing at 44 percent). Check out the visual over at Truthaboutit where the Nets cheat too much on John Wall on one play leaving Rashard Lewis wide open from three in the first quarter.

The problem was, even if the Nets played a little tighter in the first half, their offense was still so bad, it wouldn’t have mattered.

A few more thoughts after the jump:

Farmar was one of the lone bright spots for the Nets finishing with 14 points in 21 minutes on 5-9 shooting though he only collected two assists. Overall the team only had 13 assists (on 17 turnovers), but I guess that’s to be expected when you only make 28 field goals. Still, Farmar’s inability to create for his teammates while only looking for his own shot, is what makes a trade of Devin Harris without receiving an established point guard in return such a terrifying prospect for the Nets.

Hey Machine… don’t ever do THAT (1-14 from the field) again. Seriously, this is what kills me about the Nets offense and Avery Johnson’s rotations sometimes. I don’t care if Vujacic hit the game winning shot on Wednesday. He should never have been put in a position to take 14 shots when only making one. You would think after starting 1-8, Avery would have realized the guy didn’t have it and benched him. Quinton Ross or Ben Uzoh would have been better served getting Sasha’s minutes. Only Kobe Bryant or LeBron James should have the opportunity to shoot himself out of a slump to start the game.

In what may be his final days (weeks) with the team, I saw some positive things from Derrick Favors in his second start. For one, only two fouls in 23 minutes. He finished with 12 pointson 3-7 shooting, but was 6-6 from the free throw line which is great for two reasons: he was perfect from the line and he managed to get to the free throw line 6 times in half a game. I thought he made one exceptional move in the third quarter when he grabbed an offensive rebound and followed the shot back up in one fluid motion, cutting the Wizard’s lead to 13 at the time.