Nets lose to Mavericks behind ugly third quarter
With a little under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Keith Bogans let his frustration be known to anyone who was watching.
C.J. Watson’s pass intended for the reserve guard landed out of bounds and when Bogans retrieved it, he slammed it with his right hand and was called for a technical foul.
Coincidentally, the Nets started playing better, but everything they had done until that point was their undoing in a 96-90 loss to the Mavericks.
The Nets were down by 19 when Bogans got annoyed, along with the crowd who had expressed displeasure at a 29-14 third quarter by Dallas. From that point, the Nets outscored the Mavericks, 24-13, and sliced a 21-point lead to five on Watson’s baseline drive with 1:05 remaining.
“There was no X and O’s, we were just playing a lot harder,” interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said after his team dropped its third straight home game.
Ultimately, it was too late because of a dreadful stretch of 2:58 that spanned the final 62 seconds of the third quarter and the first 1:56 of the fourth quarter. The Nets let a manageable 71-63 deficit quickly become 83-63.
“We were playing like we were running in sand,” Carlesimo said. “We didn’t execute well. I thought, worse we didn’t play with any defensive energy and it went from 10 to 20 in a very short time.”
“I think we just put ourselves in a bad position and one through 12 [players on the roster] we didn’t have any energy,” center Brook Lopez said. “There was no energy on the floor; there was no energy on the bench. That’s tough. I think when our guys are struggling a little bit we on the bench should be up more and trying to get back in it.”
It started when Shawn Marion had an easy path to the hoop for a layup after Mirza Teletovic failed to put a body on him. It ended with consecutive corner 3-pointers by Jae Crowder and Mike James.
The ugly burst occurred after the Nets took a 49-48 lead at halftime. But Carlesimo seemed to have a premonition after their final three possessions of the half resulted in a missed 3-pointer, a turnover and a missed dunk.
“We should have had a four-, five-, six- or seven-point lead,” Carlesimo said.
After wasting a chance to expand the lead, the Nets started out dreadful in the second half. Deron Williams had consecutive bad passes and the Nets missed six of their first eight shots.
“The start of the third quarter was so poor and we just drifted back to what has been a problem for us,” Carlesimo said. “When we don’t score and [we] turn it over, we don’t play with the same kind of energy.”
The poor play in that brief burst put a damper on the reunion of Joe Johnson and Williams following a three-game absence.
Johnson missed his first three shots and finished with 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting, but did not play the final 8:23. Williams continued his solid scoring production of late with 24 points, but also had seven turnovers on a night the Nets committed 20 as a team.
“It started with me,” Williams said. “I think it is kind of a snowball effect. I was throwing the ball everywhere and it is just one of those things where you see a guy making some bad passes and you start thinking about it.”
Probably the best news was Johnson’s return from a sore left heel. Though Carlesimo kept Johnson on the bench because of the improved play on the court and the game in Chicago on Saturday, Johnson could have returned.
“I felt good,” Johnson said. “It’s just unfortunate that our energy level wasn’t there but physically I felt good.”
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.