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FOR 0-17 NETS, IT'S MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Lawrence Frank's weekend firing and GM Kiki Vandeweghe's unveiling yesterday as his reluctant replacement have taken the spotlight off the Nets' record-tying 0-17 start. But tonight vs. Dallas, the Heat will be squarely on the Nets as they try to avoid the all-time worst start in NBA history.

"It's tough," Rafer Alston said. "No one wants to be on that side of the record books. We come in every day with a mindset of trying to stop this thing. It just hasn't gone our way. I think it's past frustrating. It was frustrating at 0-8 and 0-9. I think it's reached a boiling point now. The only way you can change it is to keep working hard and doing what you can do to help. Don't be part of the problem, try to be part of the solution."

The Nets' problems are myriad, having already tied the worst-ever start by the 1988-89 expansion Heat, matched a decade later in the lockout season by the always-woebegone Clippers. That's bad company, building pressure for tonight.

"At this point you have to take the focus away from that and focus on as a team improving," Vandeweghe said. "You're not going to change any of the games that've already happened. You have to decide how you're going to go forward."

Vandeweghe will be spared the possibility - and, according to Vegas, likelihood, with the Nets seven-point dogs - of having this mark on his resume, since assistant Tom Barrise will coach tonight. And to add insult to infamy, if they lose, it'll be to Jason Kidd, who steered the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals before orchestrating a trade out of town.

"You use that (record) as motivation," said Devin Harris, the man for whom Kidd was dealt. "You use anything as motivation. We're playing Dallas. I can use that as motivation. You pick anything. We just bring our hard hats and our effort, and we'll be fine. We'll go out there and play hard and give it our best shot. We can't worry about the record and what's happened in the past. You have to focus on the task ahead."

By that he didn't mean the all-important 2010 free agent frenzy which the Nets gutted their team for, but avoiding a historically bad season. (p. 71 Metro)

Date with disaster

Should the Nets lose to the Mavs tonight, they?ll set the NBA?s all-time record, 18, for consecutive losses to start a season: MAVS at Nets

Tonight - 7:30 TV: YES

Radio: WBBR (1130 AM)

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Added: December 3, 2009


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