Nets Know An Opportunity Was Lost

The Nets lost to the Toronto Raptors 127-122 in overtime on Friday night at Barclays Center. Brooklyn has now lost 12 of their last 14 games, leaving them 10 games below .500 at 18-28.

The Nets lost all seven home games in January, starting with an overtime loss on the 5th to Dallas, to Boston on the 7th, Philadelphia on the 9th, Houston on the 12th, Memphis on the 14th, Washington on the 17th, and Friday night to Toronto. Their game against Portland on the 26th was postponed due to the snowstorm and will be made up on April 6th.

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said of the Nets battling back in the second half against the Raptors, “We didn’t make any shots early and they were, and they got us down. Then we battled back and then we kind of slid at the end of the first quarter, slid at the end of the second quarter, and the second half we came out and we just fought; we competed and we made a lot of plays, just not enough to win the game. We had opportunity – if we made the free throw, we’re up three. They had the ball for three to tie the game, instead they go for two and we don’t execute as well as we needed to on defense and they got the layup by Amir Johnson. And then we had to line up the shot underneath on the out-of-bounds play, and it couldn’t have worked better,” referring to Brook Lopez’s shot from the top of the key as time expired.

“We just didn’t get the shot to go down, and then we fought in overtime. We just didn’t have enough, and they earned the win in the overtime period,” Hollins said.

On Jarrett Jack, who had 35 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds, playing 52 minutes, “What are you gonna do? It is what it is.” On Jack’s overall performance, “It was great. It was defnitely great, but I mean, I thought about taking him out, I rested Joe (Johnson) for a minute, I rested Brook (Lopez) for a minute. I tried to peacemeal resting people, but I knew that I couldn’t afford to rest him because he was making plays – I mean the guy had 35 points and 12 assists and eight rebounds. He had an outstanding game. It’s just that it goes for naught.”

On the Nets’ 14 offensive rebounds (they had 50 rebounds overall), Hollins said, “Well, that’s the game, you know. We did a lot of good stuff, but we didn’t get the crucial rebounds; we didn’t make the crucial free throws. We had a lot of shots coming down the stretch in overtime that, you know, if we make one or two of those shots maybe we get home with the win.”

Kevin Garnett played just nine minutes and had 1 point, 1 rebounds, and an assist. On KG’s limited minutes and if he’s healthy, Hollins said, “It was just a coach’s decision. Yes, he is (healthy).”

Jarrett Jack said of fatigue being a factor after playing 52 minutes, “I’m cool. You know, I know it sounds funny, but when I look at these other guys in the locker room, I can’t let fatigue be a factor. It wouldn’t be fair to me, and it’s not fair to them with how hard they work and a hard-working coaching staff. Fatigue is the number one thing I never give into. I hear somebody say the biggest enemy is the one in between your ears, and if you can defeat that one anything is possible. That’s one of the mottos I live by.That is never going to be an issue for me. I’m always going to be out there fighting tooth and nail as long as I’m in uniform.”

On not getting defensive rebounds when the Nets needed them, Jack said, “I mean first and foremost, we have guys on the team that competed their butts off the whole night. You know, sometimes the bounce doesn’t go your way. They (Toronto) have capable guys that crush the glass and do a tremendous job getting them extra possessions. They definitely have a nose for the basketball. Our guys were in scrambling mode, sometimes, with pick-and-roll and their rotations. It puts you out of whack as far as rebound position is concerned, but our guys fought.”

Jack said of how tough this loss is, “It sucks, especially when you battle back. The thing when you look at the team is there are no moral victories in this, but you try to look at the bright side in everything. We could have folded. We could have tucked our tails in a number of times throughout the game. I mean, we started down 10-nothing. We were handled the majority of the first half, but to come out and fight and put up an effort against a good team, I thought we represented ourselves well tonight.”

Jack said on the question of whether looking at the bright side so many times gets tough, “Don’t get it twisted, we’re not a moral victory kind of team. We’re not walking out of here high-flying. We’re not doing that at all. We come out here to win each and every game no matter who we step out on the court against. When we step in between the lines, we feel we have the opportunity to beat anybody, so to answer your question, we come out here with winning on our mind each and every night.”

Brook Lopez, who had 35 points and 12 rebounds, said of the loss, “It was rough. I thought that last shot (at the end of the regulation) felt good. I was happy with the look but it just didn’t go down. We played great, played together as a team, made runs when we needed to and got stops for the most part when we needed to. We just played the two top teams in the Eastern Conference back-to-back (Atlanta on Wednesday and Toronto on Friday) and gave them both good games. I think we just need to look at what we did well tonight and what we didn’t do right and continue to get better.”

On being wide open for that shot at the buzzer at the end of the game, Lopez said, “They have to respect Jarrett (Jack) and Joe (Johnson) coming off the screens, so they left me open. Bojan (Bogdanovic) made the play and threw it to me; I thought I had a great look. I’m confident in knocking it down nine times out of ten. I’m looking forward to doing it next time, hopefully.”

Lopez said of his aggression level in this one, “I felt pretty comfortable. I still made mistakes, but we were moving and sharing the ball well. I think that when everyone touches the ball, everyone has confidence.”

Mason Plumlee, who had 12 points and 9 rebounds, said of how it feels to battle back and still lose, “During the game, we felt some life. (Jarrett) Jack and Brook (Lopez) played unbelievably. They really willed us and kept us in the game. Then, in overtime, we made some poor fouls. The couple where we fouled (DeMar) DeRozan and he got the and-one, those are tough plays, and you have to let them go. Tough loss.”

On the Raptors getting a lot of offensive rebounds, Plumlee said, “Yeah, at the end of regulation especially, they got a lot of offensive rebounds and in overtime, but I think it was (Patrick) Patterson running in from the three-point line, and you know they’re just very active.”

Plumlee said of his four missed free throws (he was 2-6 overall), “Well, it cost us. When you’re making free throws, it’s a different game – so you have to have those.”

Plumlee said of his block of DeMar DeRozan leading to the game-winning shot by Amir Johnson in overtime, “Yeah, it was frustrating, but we had some great stops. My man Patterson running in there and getting offensive rebounds is frustrating to the other guys. We’re a team out there, and just a couple more plays, a couple more rebounds, couple free throws, it’s a different game.”

On what a win would have meant to the Nets, Plumlee said, “Yeah, it would be great, but we’re gonna earn it and we’re going to stay in the fight.”

On whether this and Wednesday’s loss in Atlanta show life for the Nets, Plumlee said, “We’re playing better. We aren’t winning, but we’re giving ourselves a chance. The next step is winning.”

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