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LOS ANGELES - Finally, the Nets are mad as hell.

But they still might have to take it some more.

Like tonight. They're playing the Lakers, as bad an assignment as a team trying to avoid some dubious history could draw. The Nets are a single defeat away from being branded as one of three teams with the worst start in NBA history. The winless Nets' 17th straight defeat could arrive tonight - and probably will - against the world champions as the job security leash for coach Lawrence Frank grows shorter.

But the Nets may enter with a snarl and chip on their shoulder. Friday in Sacramento, after a listless and defenseless first half, players finally exploded at halftime.

"Guys were angry," said Devin Harris, who played far more aggressively after halftime in the Nets' 109-96 loss - he got to the line 14 times in the second half alone of the 109-96 defeat, their 16th in a row, equaling the franchise-worst streak.

"It was the way we played," Harris added. "We're not playing like a team desperate for a win. We talked about we've got to will ourselves to win. . . . We're not going to get certain calls. We've got to do it ourselves, and we weren't playing like that type of team."

They did in the second half after players such as Rafer Alston and Chris Douglas-Roberts took center stage in the locker room and held nothing back.

"In the locker room at halftime, guys were very upset," said Frank, who was all hard-work, business-as-usual yesterday. "After the game, guys were very disappointed."

"It wasn't a point the finger type thing. It was 'all of us.' All of us need to pick it up and we showed that in the second half," Alston said. "But we were down by so much it was hard to come back."

So one game shy of infamy, they have the Lakers tonight then return home for the Mavericks on Wednesday and Charlotte on Friday, which could be "18 Is Enough" promotion night. The Nets want to avoid joining the 1988-89 Heat and the 1998-99 Clippers as the only NBA teams with 0-17 starts, but they must avoid it against the Lakers.

"It doesn't matter what the team is, who's in front of you, where you're going to play," forward Josh Boone said. "The fact is you have to come out and play hard every night. Regardless of whether it's the Lakers, Minnesota. It doesn't make a difference."

And so far it hasn't. The Nets have lost to everybody.

The Nets have a built-in excuse. Their injury situation has been staggering, causing nine different starting lineups in just 16 games. The Nets also will be trying to avoid a personal abomination. They are headed toward the worst month in their often-tortured NBA history.

A loss tonight means 0-14 for November. Their only other all-losing month of at least 10 games was an 0-10 April in 1999-2000. In 1977-78, the Nets lost their last 14 games in January after a month-opening win. That losing streak hit a franchise-high 16 games, which this bunch has equaled.

And could break tonight.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 2, 2009


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