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Frustration — New Jersey cruises to easy win in battle of cellar-dwellers

SHARE Frustration — New Jersey cruises to easy win in battle of cellar-dwellers

The scoreboard was broken, and so was the game clock.

The Jazz's heart?

It didn't seem to be functioning properly either.

Utah played dead Saturday night at the sold-out Delta Center, never leading in an 99-82 loss to New Jersey that the Nets controlled from the start.

By the end, after New Jersey had led by as many 26 in the second half and numerous stat boards throughout the arena were either frozen or blank, co-captain Raja Bell suggested the 15-30 Jazz — losers of four of their last five games now — should be embarrassed.

"It's not about making shots or missing shots, or who's an All-Star and who's not a d--- All-Star, or who can do whatever," Bell said. "It's just about fighting — and we don't fight. We don't have people that seem like they want to fight.

"I love my teammates, and I would never make it sound like I do something (they don't) — I'm just as bad as everybody else in that respect," added Bell, the lone Jazz scorer in double figures with 20 points. "It's collectively, and it's frustrating because we have enough talent to do it — and we just don't use it."

Bell declined to be more specific, but ranted nonetheless.

"You can't point fingers and say where it's happening," he said. "It's just wanting the game, and standing up to people when they push you around or are knocking somebody on their (rear end) when they come through the paint."

Guys, presumably, like Jersey All-Stars Vince Carter and Jason Kidd.

Carter, playing his first game against the Jazz for New Jersey since arriving via trade with Toronto, merely scored 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field, dished 10 assists and came up two rebounds shy of a triple-double.

Whether it was Jazz All-Star Andrei Kirilenko trying to guard him or co-captain Matt Harpring, Carter had his way all night long, spinning on his dribble, wind-milling a dunk and generally impressing anyone with open eyes.

The Jazz had no answer, either, for Kidd, who scored 19 of 5-of-10 floor shooting and doled 10 assists himself.

All five Nets starters scored in double figures as New Jersey shot 52.9 percent from the field, a figure that plummeted after peaking at halftime at 69.4 percent (25-of-36).

The Jazz trailed by 18 at the break, 63-45, in large part because of an 0-for-6 shooting start — Kirilenko, Raul Lopez, Carlos Boozer and Gordan Giricek all came out misfiring — and not so much as one offensive rebound from any starter in the opening half.

"We got off to a horrendous start," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They did about everything that they could right, and we couldn't do anything hardly at all."

When the clock stopped counting with more than three minutes still remaining — time was kept from there on out at the scorers' table, and announced via the Delta Center's public-address system on each progressively uglier possession — New Jersey's advantage was comfortably into the 20s.

Even without injured and out-for-the-season Olympian Richard Jefferson, the Atlantic Division cellar-dwelling Nets — now 19-26 — easily had their way.

"I think they (the Jazz) felt sorry for themselves every time they (the Nets) made a basket," Sloan said. "Every time they made a tough shot and a 3-point shot we'd drop our head down like, 'Wow, we need help.' "

Perhaps that is because the Jazz could use a boost, somehow, or from someone.

"I think it's totally awful, because we didn't play at all," Kirilenko said. "We just come in and don't play to win.

"Everybody," he added, "should take a look of (themselves)."

At least some in the Utah lockerroom were, and no one looked more humiliated than 20-point scorer Bell.

On a night virtually everything about the Jazz seemed to be damaged, he could not help but sound like a broken record.

"It's embarrassing," Bell said. "I have no excuse.

"I don't know," he added. "I'm at a lack for reasons. The only thing I can keep saying is 'effort.' "

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com