Perturbed by several missed calls, Williams earned his second career ejection at 5:18 of the third quarter and moments later was followed by Johnson, who was banished for the second time as Nets coach.
PHOTOS: NETS FALL TO WIZARDS
So they were excused from watching the Nets lose, 108-89, to Washington Wednesday night at the Prudential Center, and finish a gosh-awful 0-for-3 home run against the Hornets, Cavaliers and Wizards, three teams who started the night a combined 56 games under .500.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re not an elite team yet, OK?” Johnson said of the 0-3 stand.
The fireworks officially began after Williams drove to the basket, was hit twice and received only a turnover. The Wizards (11-34) — who had Nene (22 points) debut — converted the opportunity into a John Wall jumper and an eight-point lead.
Williams, still irate over at least one obvious blown 8-second call, argued with ref Josh Tiven, who assessed him a technical foul. Williams protested. Second T. Gone. Johnson got his in rapid succession, too, also from Tiven.
“It all started with a drive to the basket, and we had a little bit of a disagreement on two 8-second violations in the backcourt,” Johnson said. “Just a difference in opinion. We’ll leave it at that.”
Williams (17 points) left without commenting — he did the same Monday after the loss to Cleveland when he also received a technical. He later said he didn’t want to risk a fine.
Johnson, though, wasn’t done commenting. For the first time in more than a month, he expressed disappointment with the Nets’ effort. The defense was dreadful again.
“We have to get back to playing some defense…I know we’re pretty challenged in certain situations, but we’ve always been a team that when we practice, we have good carryover,” he said after the Nets lost their fourth straight and sixth in seven games. “And we just didn’t get it. So it was a combination of reasons, and unfortunately [the ejection] didn’t spark our team.”
Johnson said the effort “could have been better. And you know I’m always one that’s tried to be really, really positive.”
That was hard last night. The technical parade started with the Nets down eight. After Jordan Crawford (23 points) hit all four free throws, the Nets never got closer than eight points, despite a 13-point, 16-rebound double-double by Kris Humphries and three other double-figure scorers.
“We’re just not clicking,” Humphries said.“Obviously, things didn’t go our way,” said Gerald Wallace, who scored 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. “Washington got the benefit of the doubt on everything. They made some shots, they got some fast-break points and we didn’t convert, we didn’t execute.”
Before the game, much of the discussion came in dissecting Williams’ comment earlier in the day about the remainder of the season. The All-Star, who will opt out of his contract and become a free agent come July, was asked if anything that happened in the last 19 games would affect his decision.
“Not really,” Williams said.
Linguistics experts, philosophers and psychiatrists were asked to uncover the true meaning of Williams’ statement. Did they come up with anything? Not really.
The statement probably means Williams will stand by what he has said since Day 1: He will play out the season, then decide his move. The Nets have stressed confidence he will stay put and not leave early — as he did last night.
Deron Williams, Williams, Nets, Wizards, Kris Humphries