The Nets lost last night.
We just wanted to make sure that was known because the atmosphere in the locker room and the quotes given to us by head coach Avery Johnson and the players after their 116-101 defeat to the Hawks wasn’t what we expected.
No one is saying a chair should have been thrown or a water cooler shattered or the coach should have called out the players, but after a 15-point loss you don’t expect to hear things such as “We came out and played very well.”
That was from Brook Lopez. Johnson praised the Nets fight in this game. Everyone had their heads up. Can’t imagine what would have happened if they only lost by 10 or five.
We understand why the Nets weren’t beating themselves up, but it was a little surprising at all the smiles and laughing.
To put it in perspective, the Nets were happy because they cut a 16-point deficit to five in the fourth quarter.
They were buoyed by the fact they didn’t put their heads down when the Hawks looked like they were about to run them off the Philips Arena floor.
They felt good because they played about as bad as you can defensively, because they made some bad decisions with the basketball and forgot some of the things they went over in their game plan and they were only down five late in the game.
The bottom line was the Nets weren’t down because they played harder than they did when they lost to the Celtics by 25 on Sunday. They weren’t down because unlike the Boston game when they hung their heads in the second quarter and never recovered, the Nets never stopped playing.
To them, that’s a step in the right direction.
“We could have laid down in the second quarter but we didn’t,” Devin Harris said. “We could have laid down that third quarter but we didn’t. Guys came back and fought hard. We’ll continue to fight. Hopefully we’ll just break through that barrier.”
The Nets are getting Terrence Williams back. They recalled him from the D-League. He will join them today in Dallas and maybe he will have a positive impact.
They need something positive because the road gets tougher.
The Nets just played the Hawks without Joe Johnson and let them shoot 60.3 percent from the field overall and 81.3 percent in the fourth period. Josh Smith missed just two shots en route to 34 points. Jamal Crawford and Al Horford combined for 50 points on 35 shots.
Onetime Net Jason Collins had a stretch in the third period where he showed why he was successful in New Jersey, all the coaches loved him and what his old team is missing. He drew two charges on three trips – which may be more offensive fouls than the Nets have drawn this month.
Now it’s on to Dallas for Johnson’s return and after that the Nets play host to Kobe Bryant and two-time defending champion Lakers.
If the Nets don’t ratchet up their defense quickly, fix some of their mistakes and breakdowns, these two teams can embarrass them more than these last two games did even if it seemed like they weren’t.
“We were talking just to keep our head up and try to learn from the losses and take the good from it,” Lopez said. “We’re still a fairly new team. Chemistry wise we’re still pretty new to each other. It’s a learning process. We’re trying to put it together and go on a little streak. We’re definitely a work in progress.”
The Nets thought they made progress last night, though, in a 15-point loss.
“Not a good second quarter. It kind of got away from us in the second quarter. We were playing pretty good and big momentum swing in the second quarter. We got down in the second half and didn’t start the third quarter off pretty good, but here come the Nets. We got back into it, cut the lead. But it was always maybe an offensive rebound or untimely foul or bad turnover at the wrong time. We had much better fight in us. Statistically with them shooting 60 percent from the field and the amount of points we came up it doesn’t look good but I thought our effort was much better than it was on Sunday.”
- Johnson on what went wrong this time.
Follow me on Twitter: @Al_Iannazzone
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)