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Cut down the Nets

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Will Nets break NBA record for losses?

I’m fairly certain you aren’t an avid backer of the New Jersey Nets unless you are a glutton for punishment. After all, the Nets have a whopping three wins in 40 games entering play Wednesday. Say it again: 3-for-40 – that makes baseball Mendoza’s line look Hall of Fame worthy by comparison.

The Nets (13-27 ATS) have one stinking road win (yet more ATS victorious visiting notches than the Lakers, albeit in six more games) and are the only team in the league with a double-digit negative point differential, rank last in scoring, field goal percentage, defensive field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and, well, numerous other categories. My favorite might be that the Nets are 2-4 when they score 100 this year but 1-20 when their opponent does.

The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers went 9-73, which stands as the worst record in NBA history. Do the Nets have a shot at this? The prop trade on the Nets situation has been released on a few sites, and obviously New Jersey is well ahead of the pace (currently at six wins) just one game from their halfway mark of the schedule. But it still remains doubtful that the Nets don’t reach double-digit wins. Several franchises have made a run at Philly previously, with the Mavericks in 1992-93 and 1997-98 Nuggets both coming the closest and finishing with 11 victories.

One reason to support the Nets winning at least 10 games is the relative parity in the league – especially in the Eastern Conference. Entering play Wednesday, no NBA team had won more than five games in a row or lost more than four. Well, that is if you don’t count the Nets and their eight-game losing streak.

In addition, the grind of the NBA schedule wears down every team, meaning the Nets will catch some teams on the second night of back-to-backs when they are most vulnerable and no doubt taking the New Jersey stop for granted. Just look at last season when the Thunder started 3-29 and finished 23-59.

But this team simply has too much talent not to put together a few wins here and there, plus no professional wants his name attached to that record – the Nets already established records for worst start to a season (0-18) and most consecutive games being outrebounded (23). Point guard Devin Harris was an All-Star last year (although there has been talk of trading him to the Wizards for Caron Butler), Brook Lopez is one of the top young centers in the game and shooting guard Courtney Lee started for the Eastern Conference champion Magic last season. Yi Jianlian has shown some signs of being a capable NBA player. That’s about it, however.

But quite simply, more effort is needed.

"I think it's very clear we don't play hard," said Coach Kiki Vandeweghe, who took over on the bench following that 0-18 start.

By the end of this long season, if the Nets still don’t have win No. 9, they will be the only motivated team on the court when facing organizations already eliminated from the postseason schedule. It something to consider in the final two weeks of the regular season if in fact Jersey remains inept heading into their April schedule (New Orleans, at Washington, at Milwaukee, Chicago, at Indiana, Charlotte and at Miami).

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