NEW YORK -- Through three quarters on Wednesday night, Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic had done pretty much everything asked of him. He had knocked down all five of his 3-point attempts in just over 25 minutes of playing time, and the Nets were 15 points better than the Dallas Mavericks while he was on the court.
So it came as quite a surprise when Bogdanovic, who had helped fuel Brooklyn’s rally back from a double-digit deficit in the third, logged just 1:16 more the rest of the game -- a 119-118 overtime setback that dropped the Nets' "bridge year" record to 8-21.
Naturally, Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins was asked about this peculiar decision, and all he could muster was, “Well, I could just say coach’s decision, which it was. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
That’s it? Nothing more?
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Hollins said after a follow-up question.
And with that, he walked off the podium -- his peculiar decision, which had backfired, still a mystery.
For his part, Bogdanovic said he respected his coach’s decision and opined that Hollins did so because Dallas was playing two point guards. But in the final period, Shane Larkin was a minus-9, while Jarrett Jack went 0-for-2 from the field.
The Nets probably should have lost in regulation, but Thaddeus Young made so many big plays late -- including his prayer of a 3-pointer off a broken play with 6.3 seconds left that knotted the game at 108-108 and sent it into the extra session. Young, playing like he wants to put himself into the All-Star reserve conversation, finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a block in 43 minutes.
Still, the theme of the night was that the Nets couldn’t get any defensive stops. The Mavericks (16-13) shot 54.9 percent from the field and went 16-for-34 from 3-point range -- including 10-for-13 from beyond the arc in the first half. J.J. Barea carved Brooklyn up to the tune of 32 points and 11 assists, while Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points.
The Nets had a chance to win at the end of overtime, but a play that began as a pick-and-roll between Brook Lopez and Jack ended up with Jack taking a contested fadeaway jumper from 18 feet away that clanged the rim and bounced away before the final buzzer sounded.
Going in, all the talk was about how Deron Williams was unlikely to play in his return to Brooklyn, and he ultimately didn’t due to a hamstring injury. Williams did, however, say he understood why Nets fans were upset at him. About 15 of them brought some updated “Missing” D-Will signs and chanted “Where is Deron?” but that was pretty much the extent of it.
“I think the way I played was disappointing for fans,” Williams said. “When you’re given a max deal and you don’t perform to it, especially in New York, you’re going to hear [boos]. So I understand. I wish things were different. I wish it would have worked out differently, but I can’t control that. I just have to move forward.”
This season, Hollins has taken over for Williams in drawing the majority of ire from the fan base. Recently, he had to deal with a Russian report that suggested his job was in danger. And lately, he has taken the blame for yet another late-game miscommunication between himself and his team against Miami, and then there was the Nets' no-show against Minnesota.
To their credit, the Nets have played much better in the past two games. Still, it would have been nice for Hollins to give an exact answer as to why he decided to bench Bogdanovic. Instead, he gave a nonanswer.