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Utah Jazz: Nets acknowledging that it's tough to stay positive

Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko blocks the shot of New Jersey Nets forward Trenton Hassell.
Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko blocks the shot of New Jersey Nets forward Trenton Hassell.
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The mood was appropriately somber in the visitors' locker room at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday night after the Utah Jazz had cruised to their most lopsided victory of the year, 116-83 over the New Jersey Nets.

The Nets, after all, are on pace to become the unquestioned, all-time worst team in NBA history.

"Obviously, we are not a very good team and they are a well-executing team," said Kenyon Dooling. "So that makes for a mismatch."

The Nets, who entered the game on a 10-game losing streak in which they had lost by an average of nearly 18 points, were even worse against the Jazz, losing by 33.

"It's bad," said Nets center Brook Lopez, the team's leading scorer and rebounder. "It's tough to stay positive."

New Jersey, which played Saturday night's game without injured starting point guard Devin Harris, is now 3-40 on the year. They will have to go 7-32 or better the rest of the season in order to surpass the 9-73 mark of the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, the current owners of worst all-time record in NBA history.

"The situation is tough," said Nets forward Yi Jianlian, who scored a team-high 16 against the Jazz. "It is hard to win a game right now."

Saturday night marked the final night on a four-game trip through the Western Conference for the Nets. New Jersey is now 0-19 on the year against opponents from the West.

"This has been the toughest road trip of my life," said Dooling, a 10-year NBA veteran. "We got blown out every game. We weren't competitive. We're just not a very good team right now."

The Nets struggled to defend the Jazz — giving up 70 points in the paint. The lack of team chemistry was evident to all who were watching.

"I have some friends on that team," said Jazz forward Carlos Boozer, "and they were bickering and talking back and forth with each other. You feel bad for a team like that. Hopefully they can get it together and salvage the rest of the season and get some wins."

For New Jersey coach Kiki Vandeweghe, who took over the job after the Nets had already set an NBA record by losing their first 18 games of the year, it's back to the drawing board.

"When we get back we need to regroup and get back to some of the good things we were doing before (the trip)," said Vandeweghe.

"We had some defensive intensity and some fight (before), but now is a tough time. We just need to fight through this."

When asked about the mood of the team, Dooling paused for a moment and then said, "Not very good. Should it be? We are searching for answers."