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Home is anything but sweet for Nets

Brooklyn Drops Fourth Straight at Barclays to New Orleans

March 11, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Deron Williams and the rest of the Nets looked a step too slow in their pursuit of the New Orleans Hornets Tuesday night at the Barclays Center. AP photo
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Home is where the heart is.

Unless you’re the Brooklyn Nets, who continued to show little signs of life at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night in their continued pursuit of a third straight playoff berth since arriving in our fair borough.

While just over 1,000 Brooklyn basketball fanatics were screaming their lungs out in support of the St. Francis Terriers during the NEC Tournament Championship Game a few blocks away, the announced crowd of 16,422 at the Nets’ Downtown state-of-the-art arena was bored into silence by Brooklyn’s latest putrid performance.

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The Terriers wound up losing a heartbreaker. The Nets just showed no heart.

“I think competing is what this business is about, that’s the reason I played, the reason I coach, to compete,” Nets head coach Lionel Hollins ranted after his lifeless unit dropped a 111-91 decision to the visiting New Orleans Pelicans to fall into 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

Alexis Ajinca and Quincy Pondexter had 17 points each for the Pelicans, who are in a tightly packed playoff race of their own in the Western Conference.

The Nets, however, looked more like a team playing out the string than one hoping to compete for an NBA title in the coming months.

“It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame, it’s not about anything but just going out there, competing and earning respect of your opponent. That’s all that matters,” Hollins said as Brooklyn slipped three full games behind Charlotte in the hunt for the East’s eighth and final playoff spot.

“People can write good or bad about you and you can make a lot of money or not make a lot of money, but the money doesn’t matter when you get between the lines.”

Between the lines of their herringbone-designed court is where the Nets have faltered most this season, especially on this five-game homestand.
After posting a hope-inspiring victory over league-leading Golden State to kick off the stand, the Nets have dropped four straight here to slip to a gruesome 11-19 at home this season.

The Nets went 26-15 in Brooklyn during their inaugural campaign here and added an impressive 28-13 record at the Barclays a season ago en route to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After completing a grueling eight-game road trip, Brooklyn was supposed to use this five-game stand to fatten up its record and climb the standings in the East, rather than take its ongoing precipitous fall.

Making matters worse during their latest home debacle, the Nets lost Alan Anderson (bruised tailbone), rookie Markel Brown (ankle) and Sergey Karasev (knee) to injury, putting all three in jeopardy for Wednesday night’s game in Miami.

Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack scored 15 points apiece and Bojan Bogdanovic added 12 for Brooklyn (25-37), which fell to a season-high 12 games below .500 despite jumping out to an early 14-point lead.

With just 20 games remaining on their regular-season schedule, 11 of which will be played on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, the Nets have to find a way to regain the home-court advantage that made them a postseason contender in each of the previous two seasons.

“Every game at this point is a big game,” noted Deron Williams, who managed 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting with four assists in 26 minutes.

“I talked about it after last loss,” he added. “The teams in front of us are not showing any signs of slowing down. We got some ground to gain and got to play better than we are if we want a chance to win.”

Nothing But Net: Joe Johnson and Thaddeus Young also added 10 points apiece in Tuesday night’s loss to the Pelicans, but the duo combined to go a dismal 8-of-25 from the floor as the Nets shot 41 percent as a team. … Brooklyn will play its next four games on the road, beginning with Wednesday night’s visit to ninth-place Miami. After that, the Nets will be in Philadelphia on Saturday, Minnesota on Monday and Cleveland next Wednesday. … According to a report on earlier this week, the Nets are no longer on the market. After entering into an agreement with investment bank Evercore Partners to explore selling the franchise, which he purchased from Bruce Ratner back in 2010, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is apparently standing pat. Prokhorov reportedly ended his agreement with Evercore. “Nothing has happened and they’ve been talking about it (in the media) for a year,” Nets CEO Brett Yormark said. “So I’d probably say I don’t think anything is going to happen. We have an ownership group that is very committed.”

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