It was here at Barclays Center two years ago when the Nets received an ugly reminder of how far they are from an NBA title.
The opponent was the Chicago Bulls, the setting was the first-round of the playoffs, and the enduring image was Joakim Noah running off the floor with his arm raised after a Game 7 victory, setting in motion a total reboot of the franchise.
On Monday, it wasn’t Noah running off the floor in celebration but a come-backing Derrick Rose who did the honors, again letting the Nets know how far they are from getting where they have spent millions to go.
The Bulls shot a dagger through the Nets playoff hopes with a 113-86 win, pushing the shrinking Nets a half game behind eighth place Indiana for the final playoff spot and forcing them to relinquish control of their postseason destiny when they once held firm control.
The Nets must now win on Wednesday against the terrible Orlando Magic in the regular-season finale and hope that Indiana stumbles in their remaining two games to make the post-season for a third straight season in Brooklyn.
The Pacers next two games come against playoff-bound teams in the Wizards and Grizzlies, who may rest some of their starters, possibly paving the way for the Pacers to overtake the Nets.
After the Nets faltered against Jason Kidd and the Bucks on Sunday in a 23-point blowout loss, the Nets effort was surprising to say the least.
With 5:10 left in regulation and the Nets down 28, Hollins waved the white flag and pulled his starters.
Deron Williams missed 10 of 13 shots and finished with nine points.
Thaddeus Young was off his game again, mustering just 8 points while Joe Johnson had 12 points and Brook Lopez had 13.
Adding insult to the disconcerting performance was the behavior of the fans inside Barclays, who clearly turned out to support the Bulls instead of their home team.
As the Bulls converted three-pointers and ran the Nets out of the building, the applause far out-weighed the boos.
So much for home-court advantage.
One particular fan who sat court-side could be heard berating Williams all-game.
And who could really blame him?
He could have increased his range to include all the Nets starters.
The Bulls led by as many as 14 in the first half, fueled by back-to-back threes by Rose (13 points), in his fourth game back from another knee injury.
When it wasn’t Rose tormenting the Nets, it was the 6-10 rookie Nikola Mirotic (26 points) whose three straight three-pointers put the Bulls up 87-65 heading into the fourth quarter.
Noah didn’t do the honors of embarrassing the Nets on Monday. He didn’t start and sat on the bench with tendinitis in his left hamstring.
The Nets were out-scored 30-15 in the third quarter when they shot just 26.3%, missing 14 of 19 shots while the Bulls made 52.4% of their attempts.
Alan Anderson missed his sixth straight game with a left ankle injury.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.