NEW YORK -- Miscommunications between Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins and his players have happened far too often this season -- and it’s absolutely inexcusable.
The latest one occurred with about 35 seconds remaining Wednesday night and the Nets trailing the Miami Heat by five.
Hollins said he told his players to foul after Thaddeus Young missed a layup and Dwyane Wade got the rebound, but something must have been lost in translation, because by the time the clock stopped again -- following a missed 3-pointer by Goran Dragic -- there were just 11.7 seconds left.
“I told them they needed to foul,” Hollins said after the Nets dropped to 7-18 following a 104-98 loss to the Heat at Barclays Center. “I mean, c’mon. You [have] to foul. I got caught looking at something else, and when I looked over everybody [was] looking at me -- but that stuff happens.”
None of the players claimed to know that they should’ve fouled. In fact, after Wade grabbed the ball and began dribbling, on-ball defender Bojan Bogdanovic repeatedly looked back at Hollins as if to ask, “Should I foul?” And shortly after, Jarrett Jack raised both arms up in apparent confusion.
What a disaster.
Earlier this season, in losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, similar things happened. Against L.A., Young was called for a five-second violation. Hollins felt Young should have gotten the ball in. Young said the play wasn’t drawn up in the same spot where he inbounded the ball.
Then, in Oakland, with Brooklyn on the verge of upsetting the undefeated Warriors, Hollins told his players to immediately foul with a three-point lead. Instead, they didn’t, and Andre Iguodala hit a game-tying 3-pointer.
Maybe Bogdanovic should’ve known to foul in that spot. His teammates probably should’ve known, too. But at the same time, shouldn’t Hollins, who was apparently distracted, have raced to midcourt, yelling to implore his team to foul?
Regardless of who’s to blame, it’s another terrible look for this floundering franchise -- yet another miscue for Hollins and his team.
The Nets shot just 6-for-22 from the field (27.3 percent) in the fourth quarter and were outexecuted down the stretch, as Wade took over, scoring 10 of his 28 points in the final period. Hassan Whiteside added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Miami (15-9), which has won three straight.
Brook Lopez, who had averaged just 10.7 points in his previous three games, had 22 points through three quarters but oddly sat for the first half of the fourth. He had just three points in the final stanza on 1-for-2 shooting.
“I mean, it’s designed for us to play through [Brook],” said Joe Johnson, who has scored 11 points in his past two games on 4-for-17 from the field. “But I don’t know. I really don’t know what happened, who was shooting, honestly.”
It didn’t seem like anyone did. Things felt discombobulated. Around here, they always do.