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News » Nets looking for first win Mavs don't want to be 'that' team against 0-17 New Jersey

Nets looking for first win Mavs don't want to be 'that' team against 0-17 New Jersey

Nets looking for first win Mavs don't want to be 'that' team against 0-17 New Jersey EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - 0-17.

It's the next-to-worst thing to being 0-18 and it's what Devin Harris and the New Jersey Nets are facing in tonight's game against the Mavericks .

Lose one more, and the Nets will become the NBA's poster kids for losing to start a season. Two other teams, the expansion 1988-89 Miami Heat and the 1999-2000 LA Clippers, started 0-17.

Fate has lined up the Mavericks as the Nets' chance to avoid history and get what most teams got back in late October - win No. 1.

Drew Gooden has been in this position. Not this exact position, but very close. He's played on teams that lost 19 in a row during the season (in Orlando after winning the opener in 2003) and 13 in a row to start the 2002 season at Memphis.

"So they beat my record," Gooden said Tuesday. "We don't want them to start getting things going. I've been in that situation. Now, the shoe's on the other foot. I know how things can get. We don't want to be that team."

That team would be the one that is the first to lose to the Nets. And it's not like it hasn't happened before. Last year, Harris dropped 41 points on the Mavericks and led the Nets to a blowout at Izod Arena.

But those Nets had Vince Carter, too. These Nets have a bunch of youngsters playing heavy minutes and battling injuries as the losses mounted.

"It becomes almost like a circus," Gooden said. "If you don't get a win, it becomes fun to watch [from the outside]. Either you're the undefeated team or you're the defeated team. I've been there before. and it's not fun."

The Mavericks are trying to take a professional approach to this quick, two-game trip that ends Friday in Memphis, also a team that is far, far below .500. The Mavericks are adamant that they need to play their game and not focus on the situation of the opponent, as remarkable as it is.

The Nets just made a coaching change, firing Lawrence Frank and turning to Kiki Vandeweghe, who quickly hired former Maverick assistant and longtime NBA head coach Del Harris as his right-hand man.

Vandeweghe won't be on the bench tonight. His tenure officially starts with Thursday's practice.

"They don't want to go 0-18," Dirk Nowitzki said. "You know Devin's going to be fired up to do what he did last year when he had 41 against us, trying to attack us and get in the paint and make things happen."

Shawn Marion added: "We got to play our game. They're a desperate team and they have no identity. They're searching for their first win. We have to do what we have to do to make sure it ain't us."

Getting wiped on the glass: In the last two games, the Mavericks have been outrebounded by an average of 22 boards, including a 23-rebound differential against Philadelphia, one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams coming into the game.

"We gave up 60 rebounds, which is a disastrous number," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were playing smaller lineups and that contributes to it, but it's not an excuse. Our attention to detail has to be better."

Dampier doing OK: Erick Dampier came out of his first game after a two-week layoff with no ill effects and went through a lively workout Tuesday.

Now that he's back, the playing rotation will be tweaked. Kris Humphries did not play against the Sixers, nor did Tim Thomas, although he continues to fight a lower-back strain.

"I stress to these guys to be ready," Carlisle said. "Sometimes decisions on playing time will be based on matchups and sometimes it'll be based on who I believe will be the most energetic guy in that situation. And sometimes, it's going to be based on if you're playing well, you'll keep playing."

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Added: December 3, 2009


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