Those wondering what the Nets thought about a painstakingly grueling loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night will need to continue waiting.
After the Nets stumbled offensively, they became defensive when the time came to respond to the 76-72 loss.
Only Deron Williams (24 points) and Reggie Evans (14 rebounds) spoke to the gathered media following the game. Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, MarShon Brooks, C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans, and Gerald Wallace did not make themselves available to reporters.
In Gerald Wallace’s defense, he had a scheduled appearance with 100 children courtesy of his foundation. That excuse only worked for him, however.
Outside the locker room, Billy King smirked and said, in effect, the majority of the Nets did not want to get fined for their postgame remarks. The question then becomes: who is the target, the refs or the head coach?
Unfortunately, that question will go unanswered.
Williams endured hard contact while driving to the rim late in the fourth quarter. With the game tied, 72-72, and 19.5 seconds left in the game, the point guard drove right to the rim and met a waiting Marc Gasol. Tony Allen, however, swatted Williams’ shot attempt from behind.
Allen’s block turned into two free-throws at the other end after he drove to the rim. A four-point swing that could have easily ended with the Nets up two as opposed to the other way around.
Was it a foul?
“I thought I got fouled but didn’t get a call,” Williams said.
That was the extent of the information made available Sunday night. The players were reasonably frustrated, but King gave them an out for not speaking. At the very least he gave Lopez and Blatche an out, who walked alongside him as the media headed for the locker room and King spoke off the cuff.
Williams’ drive explains the frustration directed at the officials. He spoke, though, deftly avoiding anything that might constitute a league fine. The rest had only their own performance and critical comments directed at the coach to sidestep.
Lopez, a player who P.J. Carlesimo lobbied for to head to the All-Star game, has spent three of the last four crunch times sidelined on the bench. Against the Grizzlies, the Nets simply could not score and Carlesimo still would not give the big man the chance.
Is Carlesimo worried about Lopez’s confidence after showing little faith in him recently?
“Without question,” Carlesimo retorted, adding very little. He also said he would speak with his star center about his recent play.
Lopez played zero minutes in the fourth quarter. As did Wallace. As did C.J. Watson. Of the four remaining starters outside Williams, Evans played a grand total of three seconds. The other three never saw the floor.
This all came with the Nets missing Joe Johnson for the second consecutive game with heel soreness.
Bogans played but missed all three of his field-goal attempts. Brooks played but scored just two points with a turnover.
Maybe the Nets’ frustrations were directed at the refs and not Carlesimo, but they certainly allowed for speculation.
Williams and Evans diplomatically addressed their coach’s decisions.
“That’s not on me, that’s on P.J.,” Williams said. “I can’t control that.”
“It is what it is,” Evans said. “You’ve got to roll with it. “However the boat goes, you’ve got to make the best out of.”
Even more curious, outside of Watson, Carlesimo said he never contemplated going back to his starters in a game in which the Nets could only muster 72 points.
“I wanted to go back with C.J. but I didn’t think we had a matchup for Tayshaun (Prince),” Carlesimo said. “I thought that group was playing so well, it was really more the group playing well. I didn’t want to break that group up… but I didn’t really think hard about any other subs.”