The Nets prepared for the third installment of the Battle of the Boroughs by blowing a 13-point lead in an unfathomable 92-90 loss to the Jazz Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
The loss is the eighth in nine games this month, and was the sixth time this season the Nets lost a game in which they led by double digits.
“This is a bad loss,” Deron Williams said. “[We] can’t keep giving away wins.”
The Nets had an opportunity to tie or win the game after Al Jefferson lost control of an inbounds pass with nine seconds left, but Gerald Wallace missed a straight away 3-pointer and Reggie Evans’s jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
“I was trying to bank it in real quick,” Evans said.
Once again, third quarter flummoxed the Nets. Utah outscored the Nets, 26-17, in the quarter to shave a 57-44 halftime disadvantage to 74-70 going into the fourth.
Head coach Avery Johnson pointed to the seven turnovers and 6-of-17 shooting in the third as the primary culprits for the loss.
“It’s all about the third quarter,” Johnson said. “We were awful to start the third quarter. That’s something we worked on [Monday] along with taking care of the basketball. You can’t score unless you get shots at the basket. We didn’t get shots at the basket in the third quarter. That doomed us for the rest of the game.”
So did the Nets’ seemingly collective decision to stop attacking the rim, instead settling for jumpers. The Nets, who shot 42.9 percent from the field in the game, made only 10-of-32 shots in the second half. By comparison, the Nets shot 51.1 percent from the field in the first half.
“We weren’t aggressive,” Evans said. “We weren’t aggressive on the offensive end. We weren’t aggressive on the defensive end.”
Mo Williams’s transition 3-pointer with 5:42 left in the fourth gave the Jazz an 82-80 lead. The lead was Utah’s first since 30-29 just 2:41 into the second quarter. Williams’s 19 points led the Jazz.
“We were able to get a win tonight,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. “We stayed between the man and the basket and made them make shots over us. Brooklyn missed more shots in the second half than they did in the first half. Offensively, I thought we pushed the pace more and got down the floor quickly. We were able to get hard cuts and be able to get the ball inside to one or two of our guys and as a result we got our rhythm going.”
The game was Deron Williams’s third against the Jazz since the February 2011 trade to the Nets. Williams is 0-3 against his former team. Utah beat the Nets 107-94 (Jan. 14) and 105-84 (March 26) last season. He has made 15-of-48 shots against the Jazz in the three games. Williams finished with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
Joe Johnson led all scorers with 21 points. Brook Lopez had 16, while Gerald Wallace had 11 points in 33:07.
Follow Nets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.