Avery's Ejection Can't Stop Nets' Slide
February 2nd, 2011
NEWARK, N.J.— In a game that saw Avery Johnson ejected for arguing a questionable non-call, the
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Avery's Ejection Can't Stop Nets' Slide
Midway through the third quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Nets trailing by 13, point guard Devin Harris brought the ball upcourt into a trap, with Elton Brand tying him up at the three-point line. Harris hit the ground; he thought it was a foul. NBA referee Brent Barnaky did not.
Avery Johnson took exception.
The Nets' coach, who has shown remarkable patience through 50 games, not getting whistled for so much as a single “T,” earned two technicals and an automatic ejection for flying oncourt to protest.
“Well, in the first half I thought Devin made one or two drives and just didn’t get rewarded for his hard effort,” Johnson explained afterward. “The same thing happened in the third quarter and it was the same situation, same person, and we just had a difference in opinion.
“On my way out, I told the guys we needed to pick it up. ‘Just pick it up and play with more energy and passion.’ That was my departing (message). We got it going a little bit, cut it to 9 or 11, but then they would make a big shot or get an offensive rebound or get on the break and score.”
The Sixers pushed their third-quarter lead as high as 21 – it never dropped below 11 in the fourth – before alighting upon a 106-92 final. Philadelphia’s players rebounded their way to a 47-38 advantage that included a 20-9 differential in second-chance points. Point guard Jrue Holiday pulled down 10 boards while amassing his first career triple-double (also: 11 points, 11 assists).
Holiday was supported by a strong bench performance from guard
“(The energy) wasn’t there,” Harris said. “We were there the first two quarters. I thought in the third quarter, we let the rope go a little bit and then it was too late to try and get it back. We had a three-, four-minute span when we gave up a ton of transition points, and against this team you can’t do that.”
The Nets had bounced back from a 10-3 run early in the game to pull within two points at the end of the first quarter, at 28-26, before a 6-for-19 showing in the second left them trailing 53-44 at the break. That lead quickly grew to 15 when the Nets missed six of their first eight shots.
Then came Harris’ run-in with Brand, Avery’s sixth career ejection and a four-point expansion of the lead. The Nets did close to nine by quarter’s end, but Williams dropped a three-point play on them in the final minute to push the margin back above double digits, extinguishing the boost from Johnson’s attempt to “get the troops fired up.”
“He’s got our back,” Lopez said, of his coach. “It was definitely something the way Devin went down. It was an emotional play and (we know coach) is there for us.”
Favors Feeling Good About Rookie Challenge
Forward Derrick Favors said he was nervous, but excited about being named Tuesday to the Rookie Team that will compete against the league’s top sophomores at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam during All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles. Favors, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, found out upon being bombarded by text messages congratulating him for the honor.
As of now, he’ll be the lone Net representing the team, and he’s looking forward to taking in the experience.
Typically, he left the excitement to everyone else.
“It’s big time!” said Nets coach Avery Johnson. “We’ve got the Nets represented at the All-Star Game in some way, so it’s great. This is a kid who was coming off the bench early in the season and now we’ve got him in the lineup and he’s made some highlight plays this year. He’s 19 years old – he’s going to be the youngest player in the game and representing our organization that weekend. I’m definitely going to be glued to the TV watching every play, because I don’t normally watch the rookie-sophomore game, but I’ll be watching it this year.”
Favors finished Wednesday's game with five points (2-9 FGs), 11 rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes.
Greene a Go for Wednesday
Guard Orien Greene, signed Tuesday to a 10-day contract, not only suited up for the first time as a Net, but checked into the game during the closing moments and scored on a layup with 14.5 seconds remaining. Wearing the No. 0 he first donned upon entering the league as a second-round pick of the Celtics in 2005, the 28-year-old Greene – who spent the past 2 1/2 seasons out of the NBA – spoke before the game about approaching this opportunity as his last chance to make it back.
“Most definitely,” Greene said. “A lot of times you don’t get this chance coming around two times, let alone once, so I’m definitely looking to take advantage of it.”
Before the game, Nets coach Avery Johnson said he’d use Greene in an emergency, though Ben Uzoh would be expected to step up and fill in for normal backup point guard Jordan Farmar, who remains out with a lower back strain.
“It affected us on that road trip,” Johnson said. “We weren’t very good without him. Fortunately, we were able to compensate for his absence in that last game because Ben played much better and Devin played some with that second unit. And we’re going to need him to do it again tonight, because it really showed on that road trip, how we were missing Jordan.”
Uzoh finished with seven points (3-4 FGs), three rebounds and an assist in 11 minutes.