As much as that triple-overtime loss to Jason Kidd's Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night had to hurt the feelings of upper management, the bigger deal to the Nets themselves was the fact that the 122-118 defeat was their fifth in a row.
"Damn, we got to try to find some way, somehow to get a win," said Joe Johnson, who missed a potential tying jumper in the final seconds of the third overtime. "We have to do all the little things, and when we do get that win, it definitely won't be easy."
There would seem, however, to be opportunities on the three-game road trip that starts Friday night in Oklahoma City. The Kevin Durant-less and Russell Westbrook-less Thunder sits at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 3-10 record, and the Nets have already beaten Oklahoma City once this season. And after facing the defending champion Spurs in San Antonio Saturday night, the Nets close out the trip Wednesday night in Philadelphia against the 76ers, who currently are 0-11.
At this point, of course, the Nets can't afford to take any opponent lightly and can't take anything for granted. Eleven games into the season, they acknowledge they are concerned.
"I'm definitely concerned with five straight losses," Deron Williams said. "Who wouldn't be? We have to turn it around. We want to avoid last year [when the Nets started the season 10-21]. And so we got to figure it out soon."
On paper, the Nets seem to have the pieces in place to turn things around. After playing on two injured ankles last season, Williams is healthy, and Croatian rookie Bojan Bogdanovic is growing on a game-by-game basis. And center Brook Lopez, who had struggled recently, had a strong game Wednesday night, leading the team with 26 points and adding seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Lopez, who missed most of last season after foot surgery and missed the bulk of the preseason because of a mid-foot sprain, said after practice Tuesday that he believes he is rounding into game shape.
But coach Lionel Hollins, who has benched Lopez late in games recently, wasn't ready to declare Lopez out of the woods just yet.
"He scored a lot of points," Hollins said when asked about Lopez's effort Wednesday night. "Did we do enough? Did he do enough for us to win? Did anybody do enough for us to win? Our team didn't do enough for us to win, so one guy having a good game -- it's OK, but we lost. So I wouldn't be celebrating, and I wouldn't go out and have a glass of champagne, that he played well, because the ultimate goal is to win."