The guy who was initially listed as doubtful in the hours leading up to Wednesday night's matchup with the Celtics -- only to be declared healthy enough to play some two-plus hours before tipoff -- checked in near the tail end of the first quarter.
At least Deron Williams had an excuse, reaggravating a sore left side that sidelined him in Monday's loss. His teammates didn't, especially Brook Lopez, whom Nets coach Lionel Hollins referred to as "lazy."
In one of their most disappointing efforts of the season, the Nets lost, 89-81, to the Celtics at the Barclays Center.
When asked if the Nets were outhustled by the Celtics, Mason Plumlee said: "No question. No question. It hurts to say that, but that's what happened."
Joe Johnson had 17 points and shot 7-for-16 to lead the Nets (16-19), who have lost three straight. Plumlee had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points. Avery Bradley's 21 points paced Boston (12-21), which snapped a three-game losing streak.
For the second straight game, Lopez was basically a non-factor with only six points and five rebounds in 17:27. He spent the final 9:52 glued to the bench, replaced in the lineup by Mirza Teletovic.
Unlike two nights earlier, when he poured in 18 points in the first quarter but then disappeared, Lopez never got going against Boston. The Celtics don't boast anyone with the vigor and skills the Mavericks have in their front line of Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki, so Lopez's ineffectiveness was alarming.
The 7-footer launched just five shots through the first three quarters and got exposed for lack of hustle on one sequence at the end of the third. Johnson's bad pass intended for Plumlee started speeding toward the backcourt and Lopez briefly gave chase, quickly stopping after seemingly feeling the ball was going to trickle all the way to the other baseline and out of bounds.
But Jae Crowder hustled into the picture, flying past Lopez as he put on the brakes, chased down the ball, and got fouled by Darius Morris. Crowder sank both free throws for a 69-60 advantage with 28.9 seconds left in the quarter, a microcosm of what a disappointing night it was for Lopez.
Hollins' response when asked about what he said to Lopez: "I just told him he was being lazy."
Williams didn't have much time to leave any sort of significant impact on the game, given he was done for the night before 90 seconds had elapsed off the clock. He made a pass early in the second quarter and apparently immediately felt his left side flare back up, crumpling to the court a few feet in front of the Celtics bench while clutching the same area that gave him trouble near the end of Sunday's loss in Miami.
Williams checked out with 10:21 left, walking to the bench and getting looked at by trainer Tim Walsh. It wasn't long until Williams trudged toward the locker room, signaling yet another time the Nets' $100-million man got victimized by an injury bug.
Notes & quotes: With the Knicks dismantling their team and there being no juice in the local rivalry, the NBA announced it has pulled the Feb. 6 game between the Nets and Knicks in Brooklyn from ESPN and instead will show the Clippers take on the Raptors.