One bad pass changed everything.
Deron Williams was playing really well on Monday night, making his drives aggressively and taking his shots confidently.
But with 26.9 seconds left in the third quarter, Williams’ ill-advised pass intended for Alan Anderson was intercepted by LeBron James. Anderson was called for a clear-path foul on James, who was racing toward the basket for an uncontested dunk.
Williams, who had posted 11 points, six assists and four rebounds up until that point, didn’t look like the same player after committing the turnover.
As proof, with his team’s season on the line, he finished 1-for-5 in the fourth quarter with two points and didn’t attempt a shot in the final two minutes of the game.
The Nets lost 102-96 to the Miami Heat in Game 4 and fell behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals series.
The only time Williams was really aggressive in the fourth was when he drove baseline with 2:32 left, missing the layup but helping to draw James’ fifth foul in the process.
For the series, Williams is averaging just 10.2 points and 7.0 assists on 34.1 percent shooting, and is 1-for-9 with four points in fourth quarters.
Missed chances: This could be a totally different series had the Nets executed down the stretch in Games 2 and 4.
On Saturday night, they finished 1-for-8 in the final 4:24, getting outscored 13-6.
Look at some of the possessions:
3:10 Shaun Livingston’s layup was blocked by Chris Bosh, who did a really nice job switching. Livingston probably should’ve kicked the ball out for a reset of the offense. Ultimately, the possession ended in a shot-clock violation.
1:16 The Nets went Iso Joe, and Johnson missed a fading turnaround jumper over James.
0:40 Iso Joe again. This time, Johnson’s driving floater came up short. He claimed James flopped on the play.
Bottom line: The Nets’ offense gets stagnant and they mostly settle for bad shots as a result.
“We had our best player touching the ball coming down, so when you have Joe being able to shoot, I thought he had good looks, and they didn’t go down,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s part of the game, but again, when we move the ball guys are making plays for one another, it happens. Sometimes you make those shots, but sometimes basketball can be unfriendly and the ball doesn’t go in for you. But the guys fought.”
The Nets went 1-for-7 in the final 6:55 of Game 2 and were outscored 15-5.
No, Joe! Johnson appeared to hurt his left hand after he committed a foul late in the third quarter. He was seen sitting on the bench with an ice bag on his hand. Johnson missed all four of his shots in the fourth -- going 0-for-3 in the final 4:24.
“From what I understand, his hand will probably be fine,” Kidd said. “It’ll be sore, but he’s a competitor, so he'll be fine.”