The New Jersey Nets showed what the definition of a bad loss is Friday night.
Taking on the Sacramento Kings, a 3-7 team riding a six-game losing streak, the Nets played careless, undisciplined basketball that culminated in an 86-81 loss.
With the Nets trailing 83-81 and 27.9 seconds remaining, Avery Johnson relied on his crew to make one last stand, and it let him down.
Kings guard Beno Udrih found himself wide open on the right wing and buried a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left.
“They doubled Tyreke and got the ball to Luther [Head], and he didn’t take the shot,” Udrih said. “So basically I knew [when I got the ball] I had two seconds left to shoot and it went in.”
A winnable game slipped away for a Nets team that already beat the struggling Kings, 106-100, on Oct. 29 at Prudential Center. Brook Lopez and Devin Harris both had uncharacteristically poor performances, especially for the point guard.
Harris scored 10 points, but shot 3-of-12 from the field and turned the ball over a whopping 7 times. The indecisive and sloppy manner in which the turnovers occurred comes as the biggest surprise, especially since Harris was playing at a high level coming into the game.
Lopez, on the other hand, followed up his 29-point performance in the two teams’ first meeting with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting.
Despite a performance that would otherwise result in a uncompetitive loss, the Nets had a chance to tie or take the lead with 3:19 left in the game.
Down 78-76, Devin Harris lobbed a pass cross-court that found the waiting arms of Kings forward Donte Greene. Greene streaked down the court and capped off the interception with a tomahawk jam.
Lopez missed the back-end of a pair of free-throws that would have tied the game, 80-80, and the rest is history. Tyreke Evans knocked down an uncontested fadeaway over Harris to put the Kings up, 83-79, with 59 seconds left to play.
Evans scored a game-high 20 points.
The Nets fell behind early, 33-25, on an Udrih lay-up but embarked on a 13-2 run capped off with a Lopez bucket. They led by as many as seven points before halftime but could not open up a substantial lead.
New Jersey shot 50 percent from the field in the first half while Sacramento managed 37.6 percent. The Nets only led, 46-43, a bad omen for the second half.
Power forward Kris Humphries paced the Nets offense with 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting guard Anthony Morrow added 17.
Troy Murphy, Terrence Williams, and Damion James were inactive for the game. Heading into the season, Murphy was projected as the starting No. 4 while Williams served as the sixth man.
The Nets will have a quick turnaround with a 9 p.m. tip in Denver Saturday night. The game will conclude their West-coast trip.