The Nets Swallow a Piece of Humble Pie

The Nets can't come close to handling the Heat

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Nets did more watching than playing on Wednesday.

    Reggie Evans has been around the NBA for a long time so he probably doesn't need to be taught a lesson about walking the walk and talking the talk. 

    He had to know that his public derision of the Heat as being less than real champions because they won in a lockout season would grab attention and that word of it would filter back to the Heat before the start of Wednesday's game. And he has to know that saying something like that demands a performance to back it up. 

    Evans has to know these things, which means he also has to know that he failed miserably at that task. He had plenty of company as the Nets fell 105-85 in a game that confirmed what the first two matchups with the Heat suggested this season. 

    The Nets aren't in the same class as last year's defending champs, whether or not they deserve some kind of asterisk because of the circumstances of the season. As evidence, we'll point out that this game was tied at halftime and the Nets trailed by one five minutes into the third period.

    That's the moment when the Nets were asked to turn things to a higher gear. They responded by falling apart, allowing 15 straight points in less than four minutes and handing over any chance to win the game by completely shutting off their effort. 

    The best example of that came in the third quarter when Mario Chalmers got an offensive rebound while on the floor in the lane with three Nets watching close by as he reeled in the ball and fired it to Dwyane Wade for and easy bucket. You can accept getting beat by a team like the Heat, you can't accept the way the Nets folded up and quit. 

    Evans had no offensive rebounds, a pathetic outing in light of comments that LeBron James admitted riled him and his teammates up heading into the game. The Nets turned the ball over 19 times, continuing the trend from the first two games that found Brooklyn completely unable to handle Miami's defensive pressure, and gave up 20 fast break points while getting just four of their own. 

    Most damning, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson combined to shoot 8-of-24 (1-of-8 from three) while turning the ball over 11 times. That's a total zero from two of your three best players on a night when winning isn't in the cards without your best players playing their best. 

    It looked a lot like the team that did all it could to get Avery Johnson fired. That's an unhappy development for a team that was hoping their January hot streak was a sign that the team had totally turned the corner. 

    They haven't and Wednesday night was a reminder of how much needs to be done. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.