If you ask Jason Kidd, the Nets are speeding down a slippery slope, motoring straight to Loserville.
The moving truck essentially has backed into the driveway, getting things packed up for the Nets as they seemingly prepare to set up residence in a place that worries Kidd.
"I think it's getting very close to just accepting losing," he said Monday night after a 103-86 thumping by the Pacers at Barclays Center. "We kind of get comfortable with losing, and we've got to make a stand with that, because when things get tough, do we just give in? And most of the time right now, we do."
That's an indictment of the Nets (9-18), who looked lost in their first game without Brook Lopez, who's lost for the season with a fractured right foot. But it's also an accurate depiction of a team that was embarrassed and outclassed by one of the teams they were supposed to be fighting for Eastern Conference supremacy. Instead, the Nets have shown they're nowhere close to the Pacers' stratosphere.
Doomed by an ice-cold shooting performance and lacking any kind of offensive consistency, the Nets couldn't keep pace with Indiana. They connected on 38.2 percent of their attempts, a number that slightly improved from their 35.0-percent showing in the first half.
"When we don't make shots," Kidd said, "we tend to hang our head and we forget about playing defense."
Minus Lopez -- a guy they could simply throw the ball to, let him operate and play off -- the Nets looked like a team searching for a new identity, unable to get anything going on the interior. The Nets, who were paced by Joe Johnson's 17 points, settled mostly for long jumpers, perhaps intimidated by the league's top-rated defense, and didn't get any second-chance opportunities on the way to falling behind by as many as 24 points in the third quarter.
Deron Williams was a nonfactor, playing nothing like a max-contract player and someone who has to shoulder the bulk of the load with Lopez out. Williams shot only 3-for-9, finishing with nine points, eight assists and four turnovers. He also tweaked his troublesome left ankle again in the fourth quarter, though he said he is fine.
"I need to play better," Williams said. "I need to be more aggressive for us to have a chance, especially with Brook going down."
Indiana (23-5), which was led by 26 points apiece from Paul George and Brooklyn product Lance Stephenson, mashed the Nets in the second half, using a 15-4 run at the outset of the third quarter to turn a 45-39 edge into a 60-43 lead.
The Nets had no kind of offensive juice in the third, misfiring on 11 of 17 attempts and shooting 35.3 percent from the floor. They found themselves staring at a 75-58 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, the third quarter was a letdown," said Jason Terry, who played for the first time since Nov. 20 after missing 15 games while getting his left knee healthy. "It's been biting us in the [butt] all season, and we've got to get that corrected."
Same goes for that defeatist mentality that Kidd sees cropping up in the Nets, who are close to sinking into an abyss.
"I'm not comfortable with losing," Williams said. "Getting our confidence back, our swagger back, that's something we need to do."