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LAKERS EXTEND NETS' MISERY LOS ANGELES - Lakers coach Phil Jackson emphasized before Sunday's game that a team will eventually fall to the winless New Jersey Nets. His players quickly made it clear they wouldn't be the ones who suffer that humiliation.

Displaying a commendable sense of purpose and a predictable lack of compassion, the Lakers rolled to their sixth consecutive double-digit win and sent the Nets to the brink of infamy. The 106-87 rout was New Jersey's 17th consecutive loss, leaving the Nets just one defeat shy of eclipsing the 1988-89 Miami Heat and 1999 Los Angeles Clippers for the worst start in NBA history.

"We didn't want to fall asleep and come out loose and relaxed just because they hadn't won a game," Pau Gasol said. "Our experience and our maturity level are really high, and we understand what it takes. We learned from the mistakes we made last year and we know better than to overlook another team."

If the Lakers' previous two victories over the struggling Knicks (3-14) and dysfunctional Warriors (5-10) were one-sided mismatches, this one felt more like a morbid dark comedy. Not only were the talent-starved Nets averaging an NBA-low 85.6 points per game and shooting a league-worst 40.3 percent from the field, they also entered Sunday's game shellshocked after the dismissal of Coach Lawrence Frank earlier in the day.

"He wasn't dealt a royal flush here," point guard Rafer Alston conceded. "He was dealt a pair of twos."

Assistant coach Tom Barrise didn't have any more luck with that hand than Frank after being promoted to interim head coach. Whatever slim hopes his Nets had of springing an upset vanished as soon as the Lakers held them to 12 first-quarter points and opened an 18-point lead by the opening minute of the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting despite logging just 28 minutes as a result of foul trouble. Pau Gasol had 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Jordan Farmar scored a season-high 15 off the bench.

"I don't know if you can script it any better," Jackson said. "The only thing we don't like is that we start out with a real good defensive first quarter and then they score more points every consecutive quarter of the game."

What was most impressive about the Lakers' victory was their effort level was as high as it would be if they were facing an elite opponent - and in the second half of a back-to-back no less. Farmar typified that with his hustle on the final play of the first quarter, sprinting back to block Alston's breakaway layup attempt at the buzzer when he appeared to have a free lane to the rim.

"We were definitely aware they hadn't won yet," Farmar said. "Nobody wants to be that team."

Reach Jeff Eisenberg at 951-368-9357 or

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Added: December 1, 2009


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