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FRANK BLAMES ONLY HIMSELF Lawrence Frank spared the Rod and took the high road out of the swamp yesterday.

The fired Nets coach, speaking to reporters a day after his dismissal, refused to blame team president Rod Thorn or other members of the organization for the team's abysmal record this season - and instead excoriated himself.

"Look, we didn't get the job done," said Frank, who guided the Nets to an 0-16 record before the team tied the NBA mark for futility to start a season, with a loss Sunday night to the Lakers. "I accept responsibility for our inability to win some of the games we had a chance to win. You learn from it, you grow and move on."

Of course, that doesn't address the games the Nets had no shot at winning because of injuries and questionable decisions by the front office, but Frank wasn't about to harp on those details on his way out the door.

"[Thorn] gave me an opportunity when many wouldn't, maybe even shouldn't," said Frank, who was elevated from assistant to interim and then head coach in 2004 after Byron Scott was fired. "With me there is no bitterness. I only ROOT for this organization to win, to be successful. I love Rod. I'm packing up my stuff, but I'll be rooting hard for the Nets ."

The 39-year-old Frank, whose contract runs through this season - he is still owed roughly $3 million - indicated he still wants to coach in the NBA. But he refused to look too far ahead.

The coach said he was not blindsided by the firing.

"Rod and I have a very honest relationship and I knew at a certain point in time we were going to have to win some games regardless of our roster," Frank said. "We just didn't deliver."

The Nets had just eight available players for several games this season, and even guard Devin Harris' return from injury hasn't helped. Frank acknowledged there were "mitigating" factors that led to the team's dreadful start.

"You go back to training camp and never developing any chemistry because of injuries," he said. "You go back to having some of those injuries to key players and now trying to incorporate these guys. Unfortunately, you don't have the benefit of training camp to get guys in shape, in conditioning and rhythm and roles are going to change. But at the end of the day those are excuses, and other teams have won with them."

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