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Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (R) grabs the rebound after guard Mo Williams (front R) blocked a shot by Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (C) in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in New York December 18, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
A lackluster second half has hurt the Brooklyn Nets again as they blew another big lead over the visiting Utah Jazz, losing the game 92-90.
The Jazz played uphill for about three and a half quarters, before a key 3-pointer by Mo Williams with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter helped them to claim the lead that they managed to hold up to the end.
The Nets squandered two possessions that could have won or tied the game in the final 9 seconds, with Reggie Evans screwing up a bank shot off Gerald Wallace's missed open 3-pointer.
But Evans and Wallace are not supposed to take the blame, according to head coach Avery Johnson, attributing the loss to a quiet second half on both ends of the floor.
"We ended up getting a wide open shot at the end, the shot we could not make. But that is really not what the game came down to," said Johnson. "'It's really all about the third quarter. In the third quarter we turned the ball over probably six or seven times. We were awful to start the third quarter, and that's something that we worked on yesterday - and taking care of the basketball. You can't score unless you get shots at the basket, and we didn't get shots at the basket the third quarter. We had an awful third quarter, and that really doomed us."
The Nets were up by 13 points at halftime. But as Johnson pointed out, their porous defense allowed the Jazz to get too many points in the paint.
Five Jazz players scored double digits. Mo Williams had a team-high 19 points and 6 assists. Al Jefferson notched up 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Jazz outscored the home team by 9 and 6 points in the third and fourth quarters.
Joe Johnson had a game-high 21 points for the Nets. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez added 14 points and 16 points, respectively, in what they thought a tough loss that occurs a couple of times in the season.
"When you're at home, this is where you're supposed to be the strongest, and when you have a lead, I was just hoping, man, we can blow a team out so we can kind of us, as starters, get a rest for tomorrow,'' Joe Johnson said. ''It just seems when we're up 15, 17, it seems like the game is never over, because we shoot ourselves in the foot with turnovers."
"This is a tough loss," said Williams. "It shouldn't sit with us well. We had control of the game and gave it away."
The Nets have blown a double digit-lead in six of its 11 losses so far this season. They were 11-4 going into December and were tied with the Knicks atop the Atlantic Division. But after claiming only two of its nine games this month, they are now five games behind the top-seeded Knicks, whom they are going to play against for the third time this year on Wednesday.