Thoughts on the Game: Nets Run Down by Golden State

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Last night’s 105-89 loss to the Golden State Warriors was really one of those games for Nets fans that tested whether or not you’re  a glass half-empty or a glass half-full kind of a person.

For those seeing it half-full, after getting blitzed in the second and third quarters, the Nets, playing their sixth back-to-back game of the season, were able to whittle a 20-point Warriors lead to 5. They had played a sloppy game, turning the ball over 22 times, including 17 steals by Golden State, but they were still in position to steal a win up until a bizarre four-point swing for the Warriors that sealed defeat for New Jersey. With about 3 minutes left, Brook Lopez missed an ugly baseline drive attempt under the basket which led to a halfcourt alley-oop layup by Monta Ellis off the Corey Maggette pass, and then two more points when Ellis stole the ball from Brook in the post and fed Mikki Moore for the layup. Just like that, the Nets were calling timeout and the game was essentially over.

For the half-empty fan, the Nets had yet another one of their too awful to stomach quarters – this time in the second, when they were outscored 38-21. The Nets actually entered the second quarter with a 7 point lead, but they missed their first 6 shots, and made 7 bad passes, and the Warriors held the lead the rest of the way, despite getting a below average shooting night from super scorer Monta Ellis (7-20 from the field).

What was most distressing about those turnovers, is that many of them came off lazy looking passes from a variety of sources – Chris Douglas-Roberts, Keyon Dooling, Rafer Alston and Brook Lopez. Yes, the Nets reportedly got in to Newark at 4 a.m. Wednesday night, but the Warriors are about as decimated by injuries as the Nets were a few weeks ago, yet they managed to play high energy for four full quarters with only eight players. The Nets take off way too many plays, and just look too lethargic for a roster that’s known for youth and potential.

At first glance, the box score will show Brook Lopez had a good night with 21 points and 10 rebounds, as he continues his march to prove John Hollinger wrong and average 20-10 for the season, but this game was a struggle for Lopez. Considering he had the likes of Mikkie Moore and game Randolph guarding him all night, Lopez should have had a dominant performance and instead he turned the ball over 6 times as he seemed totally completely befuddled by Golden State’s constant double-teams. He was also in foul trouble in the second half, forcing Nets fans to sit through 6 befuddling minutes of Sean Williams in the third quarter. Overall, this is not a game for Brook Lopez to hang his hat on.

Devin Harris was able to get to the free throw line all evening (11-15 from the charity stripe), but not much else. He was 4-11 from the field, and was only able to collect 2 assists versus 4 turnovers. He got whacked in the face in the first quarter by Mikki More, which forced him to leave the court for a few minutes, but I don’t think anyone is pointing to that play as a reason why Devo’s court vision seemed inflicted.

On the coaching end, Kiki was trying to make things happen with his rotations, going small throughout the second, even putting Chris Douglas-Roberts (10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 turnovers) at the four briefly, before reverting back to a more traditional rotation in the second half, but it didn’t make much of a difference. It was the frontcourt combination of Maggette (13 points, 9 rebounds) and Randolph (11 points, 9 rebounds) that seemed to turn the game to the Warriors favor. Add in the fact that CJ Watson had 18 points on 8-14 shooting off the bench, and the Nets never stood a chance. You can’t beat a high-energy team like the Warriors with a roster with no energy.

Click more, for the final bullet points:

  • So is Terrence Williams benched for the forseeable future or not? I’m not saying it’s unwarranted, but Kiki and company are being incredibly coy about it. They seem to overlook the Twitter incident only to reveal he was late to practice Tuesday and was out late doing God knows what on Monday. But they initially didn’t call it a benching. So if he’s really not benched, why wouldn’t Williams get into a game last night where fresh legs were needed and TWill’s speed could have pushed a defensively challenged bunch like the Warriors? Because if if he was legitimately available but just wasn’t used, then shame on Kiki for not at least giving him a look last night when things were going to pot in the second quarter.
  • If you take the second quarter from last Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks, Sunday’s third quarter against the Knicks, Tuesday’s fourth quarter against the Bulls and last night’s second quarter against the Warriors, the Nets have been outscored 151-84.
  • Rafer Alston was on a mission to erase all the good will he earned Tuesday night with his neat and tidy 5-8 shooting performance by going 6-14 against the Warriors with three turnovers. Most importantly, with the Nets desperately trying to claw their way back into things in the third quarter, Alston missed his last four shots of the period, including a layup at the end which looked to be a botched goaltending call by the refs. Still, it’s always got to be feast or famine with this guy.
  • Courtney Lee quietly had a solid night, with 15 points on 6-12 shooting and only one turnover. Two of those points came off a great pass in the first quarter from Josh Boone from the right baseline who saw Lee streaking down the lane and fed him for the dunk. Lee also played great defense on Monta Ellis, frustrating him into the poor shooting night.
  • I wanted to take a cheap shot at Mikki Moore, who’s an embarrassment holding up double “M” signs with his fingers after every dunk he makes, but he did finish with 16 points on 8-12 shooting, so I guess I would just be petty to remind Moore how much his stock has fallen since his career year with the Nets a few seasons ago.
  • The three PG rotation featuring Devo, Alston and Dooling on the floor, actually was key in helping to trim a Golden State 18-point lead down to 10 in the third quarter.
  • Yet, outside of Alston’s 12 points and six points from Keyon Dooling, the Nets bench was pretty awful last night. Bobby Simmons sat out with a sore neck, and when I’m sitting there wondering how things could have worked out differently if Bobby Simmons had played, you know it’s been a long night for the Nets.