The Nets game started a little after 9 p.m. last night, and if you just came back from dinner or were putting your child to bed and turned on YES at about 9:25 p.m., you missed all you needed to see.
A 21-1 first-quarter Jazz run all but ended the game. There was plenty of time left, but 21-1 is tough to come back from, even if it’s in the first quarter. A 2-1 run sometimes can be hard for the Nets to answer.
But 21-1, for a team that scored 14 points in the fourth quarter the night before at Golden State and had more than 21 in just one period against the always charitable Warriors, is insurmountable and it was.
The Nets ended their four-game West trip with another demoralizing setback, No. 11 in a row and No. 40 in 43 games. The Jazz ran all over the Nets and sent them back to New Jersey with their worst defeat of the season, one night after they already endured their worst loss of the season, 116-83.
“It was a mismatch,” Keyon Dooling said on the YES Network. “Good old fashioned butt whipping.”
You knew this was going to be a tough game for the Nets. They’re going home, ending a trip that was one pounding after another. Throw in the fact that they didn’t have Devin Harris. Then take into account that the Nets played Friday at Golden State, where they lost by 32, and Utah has been off since beating the Spurs on Wednesday.
It was easy to see that it would take an unexpected, terrific effort for the Nets to even keep this one close and easy to predict early on that they didn’t and wouldn’t have it in them.
Once again, it was a talent issue, but it also was an effort issue.
The Jazz are one of the best executing teams, if not the best, and have been known to carve up some defense. But you don’t need much to shred the Nets’ defense lately. Usually a head fake or dribbling straight gets you an open look.
That’s all the Jazz got.
Consider this amazing stat: the Jazz were 20-of-23 from the field at one point, and they should have been 21-of-23 at that point but Ronnie Price missed a layup in transition.
Still 20-of-23, 87 percent, is ridiculous, ridiculous shooting. Teams would love to do that from the line, where no NBA team shoots over 80 percent. But 20-of-23 means much more than a team being on fire. It’s almost like shooting a free throw because no one is guarding you.
Now, it evened out eventually because no team can shoot 87 percent for a game. But the Jazz still continued to make the Nets look silly.
Utah’s final shooting numbers were 44-for-72 (61.1) percent. Staggering. Now consider this: the Nets gave up 70 points in the paint.
“That’s not something that should ever happen,” coach Kiki Vandeweghe said. “Things like that happen. It’s unfortunate. Right now, we’re not playing with enough effort to win a basketball game or come close.”
At least the trip is over, but the losing probably isn’t.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)