Nets Set NBA Futility Mark, Now 0-18 After Loss To Mavericks

The Nets sank to a new low defensively with their second-quarter performance Wednesday against Dallas and are now in the record books with an 0-18 start to the season after a 117-101 defeat to the Mavericks.

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The New Jersey Nets: Where Stinking Sells

Normally, people don’t tune in to watch losing teams play. There are many reasons for this — most games are broadcasted locally, most consumers of those broadcasts are fans of the team, most fans don’t like watching their team struggle over and over again, most fans tend to be optimistic to a fault, etc — but regardless, it’s pretty much common sense.

That is, except when historic losing is on the line. Apparently, people like to watch teams that are so bad that they could make history for stinking. I can’t imagine why watching a train-wreck team is more entertaining then all the other things you could possibly be doing with your time, but for many people, I guess this passes for must-see TV.

According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, the Nets’ local broadcast station, the YES Network, has actually seen their ratings for Nets games rise for the last five games as the Nets approached the record for most consecutive losses to start a season.

Ratings for the team’s games are averaging 25,000 households per game through last night’s telecast, which is still down 35 percent from last year’s ratings at this time. But as the Nets have continued to lose, more people have watched.

In the last five games, ratings are up 22 percent and the network says key demographics are up triple digits as compared to the first 13 games played.

Maybe those viewers are just that mesmerized by Marv Albert’s voice. Who knows? Or maybe there actually is something entertaining about watching a team so bad that they surrendered 49 points in a single quarter on a night where a loss would have put them in the record books. Maybe I’m the clueless one here after all.

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Save The Melodrama: 0-18 Hurts, But Not That Much

Over at Yahoo! Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski provides an overview of New Jersey’s epic demise these past weeks. Let’s just say it’s a grim look at the Jersey hoops landscape.

A few excerpts:

They had come out of morbid curiosity, a perverse loyalty to the decades of embarrassment and humiliation here. They had come to see the fruition of how a despicable owner and a mismanaged Brooklyn arena bid transformed the New Jersey Nets back into a sinkhole of a franchise, a punch line for the sport. Families had come to wear paper bags, and a father and son had come to be threatened with expulsion by security for holding up a sign that said, "End Ratner’s Reign of Error."

They had come because, well, they practically give tickets away here now.

After explaining how terrible Nets looked last night—allowing 80% percent shooting from the Mavs at one point—Woj continues on to tackle their newest head coach:

"We are not a championship team this year," general manager Kiki Vandeweghe revealed before the game.

That kind of insight goes to the bench now, where the GM has been thrust downstairs to coach in the wake of Lawrence Frank’s firing. After sources say he was rejected upon asking for a bump on his $1.8 million a year salary or an extra year on his expiring contract, Vandeweghe will run the first practice of his life Thursday. The Nets are paying journeyman coach Del Harris $200,000, sources say, to be his assistant for the rest of the season. Within the organization, they’re already taking bets on how quickly Vandeweghe will lose the stomach for the job and cede the bench to Harris.

And it continues from there. Perhaps the most galling revelation from the piece is that the Nets will rotate assistants on the road, leaving a different coach at home for each road trip. All part of New Jersey’s cost-cutting methods, as the Nets try to offset hemhorraging of $30-40 million every year. And like that little detail, the entire piece serves as an indictment against Nets owner Bruce Ratner, “one of the most destructive owners in NBA history,” and a ballad for the lost teams of Jersey, “where NBA basketball seasons have long come to die.”

Pretty morbid stuff.

The Nets have had a star-crossed history. And Bruce Ratner has simultaneously alienated his fans in New Jersey, and failed to deliver on his promise to move the team to New York. This would be like if Browns owner Art Modell told the fans of Cleveland he was leaving in 1996, but never got the stadium done in Baltimore. And then the team wound up staying in Cleveland with a bunch of fans that they’d just publicly abandoned. And then lost an NFL-record amount of games. That’s what’s happening in Jersey right now.

But as morbid as it seems, it’s all pretty melodramatic. As if being a Nets fan is somehow miserable right now. Are you kidding me? Here’s the reality: among casual fans, this streak’s really not a big deal. There aren’t many diehard NBA fans, anywhere, and for people that just enjoy going to the games, it’s not THAT terrible. Compare a losing basketball team to a losing football team—the latter fanbase is impossibly despondent. People “care” about basketball, but by and large, they LIVE by football. When the Giants lose, the Meadowlands is oh… about a million times more depressing. So as bad as it seems… It’s not that bad.

And then, for the few NBA diehards the Nets do have, the ones that live by the team, this is HEAVEN. Because there are a few commodities in the NBA that you can’t control as a fan.

1. Cap space. The Nets have enough to sign at least one, and maybe two superstars this offseason.

2. Cap space’s distant cousin, roster flexibility. The Nets have that, too. Expiring contracts, young players as attractive trade chips, a lottery pick in the 2010 draft. Whatever you want, they’ve got it.

3. An owner that laughs at the luxury tax. Okay, so this is the exact opposite of Bruce Ratner, who a few years ago decided he’d never make money on the Nets and stopped spending anything. But have you heard? A Russian billionaire, notorious for lavish spending and alleged prostitution rings, is about to take over the team. DOES IT GET BETTER THAN THAT?

For anyone that really cares about the NBA and the Nets, the vision for the future is bordering on uptopian. Bemoan Jersey—where basketball seasons have lonnnnng come to die—if you want. But just remember: these fans are about to fall into the best situation in the NBA, even if that means some of ’em have to take a train into Brooklyn to see games.

It’ll be worth the trip. And if it seems like it’ll be an eternity before the Nets are winning again, don’t cry for Nets fans. It’ll be worth the wait.

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Video: Nets-Mavs Highlights (Or Lowlights If You Will)

ESPN’s got the highlights from tonight’s history-making loss for the Nets. The stats on the 2nd quarter are just staggering in their awfulness. Unless you’re a Mavs fan…then they’re amazing!

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Nets Set NBA Futility Mark, Now 0-18 After Loss To Mavericks

Check out fan reaction at Dallas blog Mavs Moneyball.

The Nets sank to a new low defensively with their second-quarter performance Wednesday against Dallas and are now in the record books with an 0-18 start to the season.

New Jersey allowed 49 points in the second quarter on the way to a 117-101 defeat to the Mavericks. The Nets now stand as the only team to start an NBA season with 18 straight losses. They had been tied with the 1988-89 expansion Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers in the lockout-shortened 1999 season.

The Nets were actually tied after the first quarter, 28-28, but were dominated in the second by a 49-22 count. The 49 points are the most-ever allowed by the Nets in that quarter and tied the most given up by the team in a single stanza. It also represented the most scored by Dallas for a second quarter. Dallas shot a sizzling 17-of-19 from the field in the period.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, pulled down seven rebounds and had eight assists for the Mavericks, who have won two in a row and nine of their last 11 games. Former Net Jason Kidd burned his old team with 16 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and five steals. Erick Dampier chipped in 18 points and 11 boards in the win.

Chris Douglas-Roberts had 24 points for New Jersey, which also received 17 points from ex-Maverick Devin Harris and 16 from Brook Lopez.

This marked the final game for Tom Barrise as head coach of the Nets. He took over on an interim basis after the firing of Lawrence Frank on Sunday. Kiki Vandeweghe, who has been serving as the Nets' general manager since May 2008, will take over as head coach for the remainder of the season, starting with Friday's home game against Charlotte.

Barrise ran the club Sunday night against the Lakers, a 106-87 setback that dropped the Nets to 0-17. That also set the team record for consecutive defeats.

The Nets are now flirting with the longest overall single-season losing streak in NBA history. That record is 23 games, held by the Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96) and Denver Nuggets (1997-98).

Via Sports Network

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