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Nets 101

Congratulations, Nets . There is no longer any doubt. You are the worst.


In the final game before GM Kiki Vandeweghe takes over as interim coach - assuming he didn't slip across the border under cover of darkness after watching this wretchedness - the Nets established the record for the worst start in NBA history, 0-18, with their worst defensive showing of the millennium, part of a 117-101 rout by Jason Kidd and the Mavericks last night at the Meadowlands.

"At this point I feel like the streak is really starting to get to us," said Chris Douglas-Roberts (24 points), who labeled the Nets "soft" - when he was being nice. "A team goes on a run, it's almost like we give up. That's what it looks like. We kind of give up and lay down instead of trying to fight."

So will Vandeweghe take care of that?

"It's not the coach. Red Auerbach could coach us. It's us," CD-R said. "It starts in here. You have to have the heart to overcome something like this. We're the only team without a win. We have to be a tougher team. . . . If anything, fake it. FAKE it. Toughness, you can't teach. . . . Once you're labeled as soft, that's the absolute worst thing you can be labeled. And I feel that teams are coming in here thinking that way. Teams are gonna [think], 'Oh, we got the Nets . All you gotta do is come out and punch them in the mouth and they'll give up and run with their tail between their legs.' "

Why? Because they gave up 77 points by halftime? Maybe it's that 0-18 thing that had fans wearing bags on their heads and cheering for the Mavs.

"There aren't really any words I can use to describe it," Devin Harris (17 points) said of the streak. "You want to try to make history. But not this way."

Too late.

The Nets were tied with the 1988-89 expansion Miami Heat and the 1998-99 lockout-shorted Clippers at 0-17 for the worst start. Well, if you're going to claim a dubious record and make history, make 'em remember you. And the Nets did that with a performance that was forgettable by every other measure.

"We realize we're not a championship team this year. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This is one of those growing-pain times," said Vandeweghe, who watched the game with a no-doubt horrified Del Harris, the guy designated as the GM's top coaching assistant.

That's assuming he didn't flee the state as well. Brooklyn residents probably uttered a simple message: "Stay. Please."

The next record for the Nets to shoot for is the NBA all-time losing streak, 23 games, jointly held by Vancouver (1995-96) and Denver (1997-98).

"I'll tell you, if they're trying to get a great draft pick, they're doing it the right way," quipped Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

After a 28-28 first quarter, the Nets , with interim interim Tom Barrise coaching his second and final game, put on a defensive performance that was jaw-dropping bad.

Consider: The Mavs scored 49 points in the second quarter. FORTY-NINE (the Nets had 50 in the half). They shot 17-of-19 (.895) in that quarter to complete an .806 half. The Nets were outscored 36-9 in the final 7:57 of the half. That left Kidd (16 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds) and the Mavs smirking with a 77-50 lead.

"We're not a tough-minded team right now," said Trenton Hassell. "Some of it's mental. We let people lay it up instead of having a physical capability. Everyone wants to win, but until all of us that's playing step up and play together and play hard, we're going to be the same team we are right now."

* (Late City Edition) Yi Jianlian is due back next week from the sprained knee he suffered Nov. 2. Keyon Dooling (hip) plans to play tomorrow against Charlotte.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 4, 2009


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