Forgettable D-Will can’t help Nets overcome Pacers

Deron Williams’ passive and sporadic play doesn’t help in Brooklyn’s loss.

Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images

Deron Williams’ passive and sporadic play doesn’t help in Brooklyn’s loss.

PACERS 105, NETS 91

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a depressing phenomenon for the Nets: a team full of stars has no stars. They’re a collection of failing mercenaries.

Keeping up with one of the many disturbing trends of the season, Deron Williams was passive and ineffective, Joe Johnson shot like the rim was boarded up and Kevin Garnett was, well, who could’ve predicted his fall from a cliff?

As the game was slipping away from the Nets early in the fourth quarter, Williams, the anointed franchise player and $ 100 million point guard, was on the bench watching a real superstar — Paul George — take over Saturday night in Indiana’s 105-91 win.

“Of course (there’s a big gap between the Nets and the Pacers),” Williams said. “We’re 10-20.”

Williams finished with just 14 points and six assists in 33 minutes, leaving him with averages of 12.6 and 7.2. This comes after his coach and teammates spent an offseason touting Williams’ MVP potential.

When asked if he’s fulfilling his recent declaration of being more aggressive, Williams said, “No.”

Paul Pierce can’t carry the Nets with his 18-point performance.

Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images

Paul Pierce can’t carry the Nets with his 18-point performance.

So how does that change?

“I just have to be more aggressive.”

Jason Kidd didn’t accuse his players of giving up this time. They just weren’t as good as the Pacers (24-5), and that seemed to be the realization in the locker room. It’s hard to imagine how they’ll ever be as good as the team with the best record in the NBA.

“Everything is a work in progress,” Williams said.

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Johnson didn’t carry the weight of his massive contract, scoring nine points on 4-of-12 shooting in 36 minutes. Garnett scored just two points on 1-of-5 shooting, which is not so surprising considering he’s averaging less than seven points for the season. Paul Pierce (18 points) and Mirza Teletovic (17) were the lone bright spots.

Kidd declined to call out Williams when asked specifically about his effort. George, the emerging MVP candidate, scored 24 points for the Pacers. Brooklyn product and Lincoln High graduate Lance Stephenson added 23 points with nine assists and seven rebounds.

The Truth dunks against the Pacers.

Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images

The Truth dunks against the Pacers.

“I need everybody to be better,” Kidd said. “We can only do it as a team and it’s not going to be one person. It can’t be just Deron. It can’t be just KG or Paul. It’s gotta be the whole team on a nightly basis. And right now we’re not getting that.”

In the wake of a report that Kidd was losing his locker room, the coach started his 14th different lineup of the season – an amazing stat considering he’s only about a third into the season. Last season, Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo used a combined 13 different lineups.

Pierce started for a second straight game, and Teletovic went to power forward. Center/forward Andray Blatche is expected to miss the entire road trip for “personal reasons.”

The Nets were pounded by the Pacers on Monday at the Barclays Center, but started better Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, exhibiting the type of energy and ball movement that was missing from their recent four-game losing streak (which they snapped Friday against the Bucks).

They trailed by only two points at the break, but then succumbed to a familiar foe: the third quarter. The Pacers went on a 14-5 run to start the second half, and Brooklyn never really threatened again.

Danny Granger’s three-point play was the dagger with 7:52 remaining, giving the Pacers a 15-point lead.

The Nets just aren’t good enough to overcome that.

“We know the Pacers are a great third-quarter team and we just turned the ball over a little too much to start the third,” Pierce said. “Against the team with the best record in the league on their home court, you have to be flawless.”

With these Nets, you have to question whether flawless would be good enough.  


Daily News – Sports

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