The Nets found a way to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory in Orlando on Wednesday night.
Despite Brook Lopez's double-double (24 points and 15 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic's 20 points, the Nets were outscored 32-20 in the fourth quarter and coughed up a lead down the stretch. After taking a 93-90 advantage with 1:43 to go, the Nets went 0-for-4 from the field and turned the ball over twice in the final minute and a half of the game.
"Executing under pressure is important and I don't think we handled the pressure well," Lionel Hollins told reporters after the game. "We didn't focus, we didn't work to get open, we didn't work to get in the positions you need to get in and in the last five minutes of a game, you're a little tired and sometimes that is what pressure will do to you."
This was a frustrating loss, and reading Hollins' postgame comments only made it worse. It's time for someone to be held accountable for this mess. It's one thing if the Nets were just outplayed every single night, but they're not.
The Magic are contenders who currently hold the five seed, and this is the second time Brooklyn should have beaten them in the last two weeks. More often than not, this club is losing their focus during key stretches of the game, and that's the sign of a team that is either undisciplined or has quit on their coach. Either way, it's not a good look for Hollins.
Every bad loss for this team stings more because there's just zero room for error, especially after the 0-7 start to the season. The Nets just can't close out their opponents, and it's killing any chance they had at surprising some people this season.