From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH
BROOKLYN NETS - There's No Place Like Flatbush.
I told you I smelled a trap game. Luckily, after falling to the Pelicans on Monday, Toronto followed suit with a loss on Tuesday night. Therefore, the Nets entered Wednesday night's game against the Bobcats still just 1.5 games out of first place in the division. However, the Nets wound up squandering an opportunity, and find themselves 2.5 games back again, as Toronto was victorious over Boston on Wednesday.
In Charlotte, the Nets suffered their second straight letdown, this time against the Bobcats, in what was Brooklyn's third straight overtime game. That's pretty taxing this late in the season. So, perhaps, it's best if the Nets just hurry back to Brooklyn, rest in their own beds, and prepare to resume marching towards the playoffs on Friday, when they host Cleveland in the first of three games off Flatbush Avenue.
Considering how well they've played over the last three months, it is hard to be overly critical now. This was only the second time in 2014 Brooklyn has lost back to back games. However, on the heels of a victory over a good Dallas Mavericks team to begin this road trip, the last two games have indeed been letdowns.
The Nets loss detracts from what was an otherwise stellar performance by Deron Williams, who finished with a team high 29-points, and poured in 18 points in the 1st quarter. Deron also tied for the team lead with 7 assists, and after trailing the Bobcats after three quarters, he was instrumental in getting the Nets into overtime. Mirza Teletovic scored 22 points off the bench, and Joe Johnson came in with 18 points.
All this is paltry compared to the night Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson had. They are the two most responsible for sending the Nets home with their heads down. Kemba Walker led all players with 12 assists, and poured in 20 points.
Al Jefferson however, destroyed Brooklyn in all aspects of the game. While the Nets have sported a small line-up in Kevin Garnett's absence, they have been getting manhandled on the boards. Wednesday, the Nets were out-rebounded by a lopsided 49-32 margin. The Bobcats pulled down 15 offensive rebounds. The Nets could only manage 3 on their offensive glass. Center Al Jefferson led all scorers with 35 points, and 12 rebounds, with 12 coming on the defensive board.
Both the Nets and Toronto Raptors play Friday evening. In the Eastern Conference standings, #4 Chicago holds a 2.5 game lead over #5 Brooklyn. The Bulls are in action Friday evening as well.
Twelve games remain in the Nets regular season.