Nets can’t back up ‘big game’ talk in loss to Hornets
Charlotte Runs Past Brooklyn in Key Eastern Conference Tilt
Lionel Hollins said it, and so did Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, and any other Brooklyn Net who was asked about Wednesday night’s showdown against the visiting Charlotte Hornets.
Each admitted it was about as big as any game the Nets had played during this uneven and tumultuous season, especially considering the playoff positioning and potential tiebreakers on the line.
But instead of rising to the occasion, the Nets looked more like a team going through the motions during a preseason contest.
Putting forth one of its least inspiring performances of the season, Brooklyn suffered a 115-91 loss to the Hornets in front of 16,691 fans at the Barclays Center, many of whom would have been better off walking over to Remsen Street to check out the LIU-St. Francis NEC Tournament game.
At least that one was competitive throughout.
“They came in here and beat us in every facet of the game,’’ Hollins admitted after his team fell behind 35-15 after 12 minutes and never seriously challenged thereafter, taking much of the luster off Brooklyn’s 4-2 run since the All-Star break.
“I can’t explain it,” he added. “I could say we had a little bit of a hangover from the Golden State game (Monday night’s dramatic 110-108 win over the league-leading Warriors), but I’d be lying.”
Williams scored 12 points and Mason Plumlee added 11 for Brooklyn (25-34), which fell a full game behind eighth-place Charlotte (26-33) in the hunt for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Nets also dropped to 1-1 in the season series with the Hornets, losing an opportunity to own a tiebreaker over Charlotte if the teams should finish deadlocked for a postseason berth.
The teams will meet again in Charlotte on March 25.
”I felt like the team that wanted it more was going to win the game,” Hornets guard Mo Williams said after pouring in 14 points and handing out 14 assists.
Apparently, that team wasn’t the Nets, who are now 10th in the East, behind Indiana (26-34) and the Hornets.
Brooklyn will try to bounce back Friday night against visiting Phoenix.
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