The New Jersey Nets just can’t seem to get a break. After Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat that came from Dwayne Howard’s three-pointer with 0.1 seconds to go, the Indiana Pacers gave the Nets another false hope on Tuesday night. The Nets record fell to a miserable 0–11 after a 91–83 loss.
The Pacers wasted no time taking it to the Nets at the IZOD center, gaining a 10-point 31–21 lead at the end of the first quarter. Nets big man Brook Lopez held the team together with 10 points but they got nothing from the bench.
That quarter turned out to be the decider for the night, as the rest of the game was neck-and-neck with the Nets rallying back to outscore the Pacers by two in the second quarter (25–23) and one in the third quarter (14–13).
The Pacers took the fourth quarter by only one point (24–23) and the Nets had several opportunities to get within striking distance of the win. But they didn’t have enough to push through and the game ended with a fifth-straight win for the Pacers.
The top performances from both teams came from the big men in the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert (9–11 in field goals, 19 points, 10 rebounds) and the Nets’ Lopez (10–27 in field goals, 26 points, 16 rebounds).
Nets guard-forward Chris Douglas-Roberts had an impressive 27 points and 12 rebounds but was 0–3 in three-point shots. The team’s only three-pointer came from the bench from forward-center Josh Boone in the fourth quarter.
The Nets’ problem this season can be attributed to both ends of the court, but it really comes down to scoring and an injury plagued roster. They were again down to the eight-man minimum on Tuesday and the extra minutes are taking their toll on the starters.
Although the team doesn’t hold the worst record in the scoring statistic—the Charlotte Bobcats have that dubious honor—they are only averaging 84.5 points per game yet are allowing their opponents to average 94.8 points per game for the league’s worst differential of -10.3.
Defensively the team ranks 15th in rebounds and 11th in blocks per game. They are beaten by opponents on the rebound statistic but are bettering them slightly in blocks, thanks in no small part to their 7-foot, 265 pound monster Lopez, who is averaging 8.2 rebounds and 17 points per game. He is among the top brass in blocked shots.
But what is perhaps so painful about the Nets' losses are that in many of them, the team have actually had chances to win. Seven of their 11 losses have been by 10 or fewer points, including against top teams like the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.
The Nets went into Tuesday night’s game having tied five other teams in NBA history for the dubious record of going 0–10 or worse to start the season. The Houston Rockets went 0–10 in 1982; the Denver Nuggets went 0–12 in 1997; the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers went 0–15 in 1972 and 1970, respectively; and the Miami Heat went 0–17 in 1988.
The Nets' worst season record of 17–65 came back in 1989–1990. The NBA’s all-time worst season record belongs to the 1972–1973 Philadelphia 76ers (9–73).
The Nets play the 5–3 Milwaukee Bucks on the road Wednesday night.