2006_04_snetslogo.jpgFor weeks, Gothamist has raved about the Nets' lesser-known players. They've supported the stars on their big nights and helped compensate for big names' cold games as well. But none of that matters if the Nets play defense like they did in Tuesday's 104-101 loss in Chicago. That is to say, the Nets must play some defense in the fourth quarter. They proved unable to stop former Connecticut star Ben Gordon, and a desperate Bulls team kept its playoff hopes alive.

For the Nets, the loss hurts their chances to catch Miami for the second spot in the Eastern Conference. It also shows how one-dimensional their offense can be when Jason Kidd does not play well. Kidd has five assists and just four points. Carter led the team with 44, but only two other Nets scored in double figures. But Gordon plagued the Nets more. He scored 21 (out of 36) points in the fourth quarter and made 19 of 21 free throws throughout the game. New Jersey trails Miami by 3.5 games for the number two seed. Miami has four games remaining, the Nets have five.