You could easily say that the Brooklyn Nets imploded on Monday night against the Toronto Raptors. Adding another wrinkle to a tumultuous and unfortunate 2013-14 NBA season overall, the Nets held a 103-102 lead and the ball with just 12 seconds left on the clock. All that the Nets had to do was get the ball inbounds and knock down free throws.
All that they had to do was apparently too much for Brooklyn, though. Deron Williams threw a soft, arching pass into the backcourt, only to have it intercepted by Raptors forward Patrick Patterson. Patterson dished it to Kyle Lowry, who gave it right back for Patterson to knock down a mid-range jumper that gave Toronto the lead and ultimately the win.
Paul Pierce and Lowry found themselves in an offensive battle on Monday night. Lowry put up 31 points, seven assists, five rebounds and an impressive five steals on 10-18 shooting from the floor and 4-7 shooting from three. Pierce did his best to match that by scoring 33 points on 10-16 shooting from the floor and silky 7-10 shooting from three to go along with six boards, two assists, one steal and one block.
Had the Nets been able to capture a win, they would have been just one game back of .500. For a team with the amount of talent that Brooklyn has, that’s a small feat; but, it’s also rather incredible considering how slowly they started the year. However, Williams’ pass sealed their fate in this one.
Last season and before the additions of Pierce and Kevin Garnett, arguably the biggest knock on the Nets was their sometimes lackadaisical manner and apparent apathy on the floor. While their play and injuries have been the bigger issue this season, a play like the one Williams made in such an important moment brings back thoughts of that uninspired performance from last season.
Brooklyn has clearly turned things around for the better lately and, if the past few weeks are any indication, will be bound for the postseason when all is said and done in the regular season. If the Nets truly want to realize anything close to their expectations, though, plays like the one at the end of this game against Toronto just can’t happen.