BROOKLYN – The Brooklyn Nets gave rookie Jorge Gutierrez a message Sunday night.
After the thrilling, 107-104 OT comeback win in Dallas, Gutierrez was the recipient of a playful beatdown by his teammates.
“That’s our way of telling you, ‘We love you, man. You’re one of us,’ " said Alan Anderson.
Gutierrez sent a reply to his teammates in the Nets' 116-111 OT loss in Charlotte on Wednesday night.
With 6:41 left in regulation Gutierrez was issued a flagrant foul-2 on Cody Zeller when the 6-3 Gutierrez came down hard as the 7-foot Zeller was going up.
Gutierrez was ejected but the play was not lost on his teammates. The Nets played their best defense of the game in the final 6:41 and OT.
“He just got with us and he’s laying his body on the line, protecting our paint,’’ said Anderson. “We’re not trying to hurt anybody. He’s laying his body out there. Definitely love that, appreciate that.’’
Playing their third overtime game in row, a franchise record, the Nets didn’t have enough left in the tank in the extra five minutes and fell to the Bobcats.
It marked the first time since Jan. 31-Feb.1 that the Nets (37-33) have lost consecutive games.
The Nets will look to stop the bleeding Friday night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Barclays Center. Gutierrez will be on the roster. The Nets announced Friday that they had signed Gutierrez to a multi-year deal.
He showed the Nets his defensive prowess back in training camp but the Nets didn’t have an open roster spot. He was having his best game to date until the ejection.
“Coach always says, ‘Nothing easy, make them earn it on the free throw line,’’’ Gutierrez said. “I just tried to do a hard play.’’
Gutierrez, who played at Cal where coach Mike Montgomery said he was one of his favorite players ever, had 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting, two rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes and 22 seconds.
The Nets were without Kevin Garnett (back spasms), Marcus Thornton (bruised back) and Andrei Kirilenko (sprained ankle). Gutierrez made the most of his minutes.
“I’m feeling really comfortable," said Gutierrez. “You know, I have great teammates. They make it really easy for me.’’
The Nets, who start two point guards in Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston, need depth at that spot. They might have found the answer in Gutierrez.
“I thought he was great tonight,’’ coach Jason Kidd said after the game. “Jorge, he sprained his ankle somewhere in the game, continued to keep playing, made shots, made plays. He’s a tough kid and I thought he was good tonight.’’
NOTES: The Nets went 1-2 on the road trip, playing three straight OT games. Beginning with the second half of the 109-104 OT loss in New Orleans, when the Nets blew a 22-point lead, the defense stopped doing the things it needs to do for this team to win.
They went into the road trip ranked first in the NBA in turnovers forced with 17.5 per game. They were second in points off turnovers with 20.4.
The Nets forced 11 turnovers against the Pelicans, which led to 14 points. They forced nine against the Bobcats, which led to nine points. Some of that is attributable to fatigue, but the Nets have identified more concrete reasons.
“Our deflections were low,’’ said Kidd. “That was talked about at halftime. We weren’t active. So we’ve got to get back to being active.’’
“Our rotations are just kind of slow,’’ said Williams, who led the Nets with 29 points. “We talked about it before. We don’t have a lot of practice time. It’s kind of tough. You lose those good habits and bad habits start creeping in.’’
Williams had one of the great defensive stands of the season. With seven seconds left in regulation the Bobcats put the ball in the hands of cockroach-quick Kemba Walker and let him go one-on-one against Williams. Williams didn’t give an inch and Walker fumbled the ball away as time expired.
There aren’t many players in the league with the quickness to check Walker in that situation.