PHILADELPHIA—If ever the Brooklyn Nets are going to turn around this woefully disappointing season, the time has come.
"Enough is enough," Deron Williams said after Friday night's soul-shattering 121-120 OT loss to the 76ers.
"Enough is enough," said Alan Anderson, who had a season-high 26 points.
Just five nights ago the Nets had buried the 76ers, 130-94, in Barclays Center for their fourth win in five games.
All of those early-season injuries, blowout losses and adjustment to new schemes, were in the rear view mirror.
Yet five nights later, the Nets, displaying the same flaws they have displayed all season – healthy or not – were on horrific display.
They got mercilessly outrebounded, 49-36, including 13-5 on the offensive glass. That was two nights after they got dusted on the boards, 51-31, in a 113-107 loss to the Washington Wizards.
They got pushed around the paint, outscored, 66-30, by the 76ers.
At one point veteran Paul Pierce implored his teammates to 'Go get it! He wasn't just talking about rebounds or points in the paint. He was talking about a mindset that is missing.
Did the Nets really think, with the 9-16 record they brought into Wells Fargo Center, that the 76ers were going to fear them like the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers or Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs?
Do the Nets still think that because the roster looks good on paper it will translate into wins? Pierce (24 points, 19 rebounds, five assists), who did everything he could to prevent this brutal loss, was brutally honest.
"We got to be up for everybody," he said. "It's not like we're walking giants. We're bottom feeders right now, just like Philadelphia."
The Nets are 9-17. The 76ers are 8-19.
But the 76ers, with a team payroll of about $45 million, did not come into this season with championship expectations.
The Nets, with a payroll of about $102 million, have gone all in this season. Yet the 76ers showed Brooklyn something Friday night that the Nets can't ignore: Effort.
"It's very surprising, especially for this group of guys,'' said Alan Anderson. "There's a lot of years and a lot of wisdom on this team. Effort would be our last [concern]."
It's all a concern now.
Even though Joe Johnson (personal reasons) and Kevin Garnett (rest) missed the game, and the 76ers had stellar, rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams (15 points; 10 assists) back in the lineup, how does that translate into a 37-point swing in five days?
The Nets had center Brook Lopez, who missed Monday's rout with a mildly sprained ankle, back in the lineup. They had played excellent defense over a five-game stretch, allowing an average of 93.6 points.
They had a chance, with Washington and Philadelphia as the next two opponents, to improve to 11-15, not fall to 9-17. Now, this feels like a season on the brink.
"I don't think anyone could imagine us having the record we have right now, talking about the things we're having to talk about every game,'' said Deron Williams. "It's baffling to me. At some point we have to say, 'Enough is enough.'"
That point has arrived.
The Nets have three days to get ready for Indiana on Monday night. They need to use those three days as well as the 76ers used their five-day break since the Nets loss.
"We needed to get that win for the sanity of the group," said Sixers coach Brett Brown.
Sanity? Consider this: Since Day One, coach Jason Kidd has preached that this will be a tough team that locks down on defense.
The Nets just gave up 244 points in two games to two teams with a combined record of 19-32. Insanity!
"I think we came out soft in the sense of not being aggressive," said Kidd said. "We have to take some pride on the defensive side."
There's no soft-pedaling where the Nets are.
"We have to build some consistency," said Pierce. "Before it's too late."