Almost lost in the wake of another fantastic Knicks-Nets game Tuesday night was the fact that it was the Nets' fifth loss in a row, that the Nets hadn't won a game since November. It had dropped the Nets from a thrilling 11-4 to a too-close-to-.500-for-comfort 11-9. It was also indicative of the Nets' streaky nature: Somehow, after only twenty games, they had two five-game winning streaks and a five-game losing streak. After last night, hey, maybe they started another one.
The Nets beat the Raptors last night 94–88, proving once again that the Raptors — who are 4-19, yikes — are a balm for everyone's woes. It still wasn't the most impressive victory — the Raptors were missing most of their best players, which means the Nets only beat a 4-19 team's backups by six — but the Nets got hot from behind the three-point line in the second half and snapped their streak. Joe Johnson had one of his "oh, no, he's still good, swear" games, as opposed to the "should this guy even be in the starting lineup?" ones, scoring 23 points and hitting four three-pointers.
Not that any of that really matters, because this will end up being known as the game when a referee tried to block Kris Humphries's shot.
That is one of the strangest things we've ever seen on a basketball court. The ref decided that play wasn't ready to continue, so up he went. Kris Humphries gets enough grief: We're so glad the ref did not, in fact, block his shot. He'd never live that down.
One potential worry for the Nets: Deron Williams's shooting touch. He was 5-of-16 last night, and as ESPN's Grantland's Zach Lowe pointed out this morning, his shooting percentages are way down for the third consecutive year. Obviously, his wrist has been hurt, but those numbers are difficult to ignore. Deron Williams is supposed to be a superstar — he's the whole deal, himself — but he's not there right now. Not that the Nets are in any sort of trouble or anything. John Hollinger's Playoff Odds Report has them with a 94.5 percent shot of making the playoffs, and they're still almost on pace to win 50 games this season. And they're still figuring all this out. Worry not. But heal up, Deron Wrist.