Brooklyn’s already poor offense has fallen on particularly tough times during the Nets’ latest skid.
Although they’ll be missing their point guard, a matchup with one of the league’s worst teams may cure their recent woes.
Brooklyn will be without Deron Williams as it tries to avoid a fourth straight loss Friday night when it hosts the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nets (16-19) are averaging 84.3 points on 39.8 percent shooting during a three-game losing streak, going 13 of 63 from 3-point range (20.6 percent). They’ve been one of the league’s lowest scoring teams this season with 95.8 points per game, though they had averaged 101.3 points on 47.2 percent shooting while winning six of seven before the current slide.
Deron Williams’ unavailability has only compounded their problems. Williams, the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game and its leader with 6.3 assists per game, played four minutes in Wednesday’s 89-81 home loss to Boston before leaving due to re-aggravating a sore left side that caused him to miss Monday’s loss to Dallas. He has been diagnosed with a fracture of his left rib and is sidelined indefinitely.
Williams had one of Brooklyn’s 18 turnovers compared to only seven for Boston, and the Nets scored a combined 33 points in the second and fourth quarters. While the previous two losses had come against Miami and Dallas, teams in position for playoff spots, the Celtics had lost seven of nine since trading Rajon Rondo and eight of nine on the road.
Mason Plumlee, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds, said the Nets were outhustled.
"At this point there’s no excuses," Plumlee told the team’s official website. "We got to get it going."
The 76ers (5-29) are last in the league in scoring (90.5 ppg) and shooting (41.0 percent). They’ve had their share of defensive issues lately, too, letting four of their last five opponents shoot at least 50.0 percent.
They posted their second-worst shooting performance of the season Wednesday, going 25 for 83 (30.1 percent), including a 2-of-25 mark from deep in a 97-77 home loss to Milwaukee. The Bucks shot 53.9 percent in what Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called the team’s "poorest game of the year."
Michael Carter-Williams, Henry Sims and Robert Covington were a combined 3 of 32 and committed nine of the team’s 24 turnovers. Tony Wroten was 4 of 19 off the bench.
"I don’t really have any explanation besides I was terrible tonight," said Carter-Williams, who is shooting 25.3 percent over his last five games after going 1 for 13. "I was trying to make plays and my shot wasn’t falling. I tried to get my teammates involved and do other things out there but the game just wasn’t going our way."
The Nets have won all five home meetings since moving to Brooklyn and six of seven overall, including two matchups this season. Brooklyn outscored Philadelphia 25-10 in the fourth quarter of an 88-70 home win on Dec. 12 despite Williams missing all eight of his shots.