EAST RUTHERFORD, December 3- The New Jersey Nets set a standard for NBA futility Wednesday, falling to a record 18th straight defeat to start the season.
The Dallas Mavericks delivered the killing blow, 117-101.
The Mavs made 17 of 19 shots and opened a 27-point lead in a stellar second quarter, putting the Nets on the road to infamy early in the game.
The Nets passed the 1988-89 Miami Heat and 1999 Los Angeles Clippers, who both dropped their first 17 games.
New Jersey’s next chance to end the streak comes on Friday when they host Charlotte.
The Nets, who have been praised for their competitive fire in the midst of an injury-plagued season, looked doomed in this one.
Dallas shot 81 percent in the first half, the first NBA team to make 80 percent of their shots in a half since Denver hit 82 percent against the Clippers on April 4, 2006.
"At this point, I feel the streak has definitely gotten the best of us," guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "So when a team goes on a run it’s almost like we give up, which is really unfortunate but that’s what it looks like to me. We kind of give up and just lay down instead of trying to fight."
Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points and Jason Kidd had 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Mavericks, who led by 31 points in the third quarter.
Erick Dampier added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Tom Barrise, who took over on an interim basis from sacked Lawrence Frank on Sunday, coached one more game, although the Nets have said general manager Kiki Vandeweghe will assume the coaching duties on Friday.
Vandeweghe handled the pregame coach’s meeting with reporters, then sat in a seat above center court with Del Harris, the former Dallas assistant who will join him on the bench.
"Nobody likes to lose. Period. And obviously we made it clear and you all know this is a developmental year, but nobody expected to be 0-17," Vandeweghe said. "That’s just obviously not acceptable and I think that it’s not acceptable to anybody and especially the players."
New Jersey kept it close in the first quarter, but the Mavericks’ lights-out shooting in the second period saw them pull away.
"We came out with great energy, great defensive effort in the first quarter and then we have two steps back in the second quarter, giving up 49 points and them shooting 81 percent in the first half," point guard Devin Harris said. "The second half was good, but that’s too tall of a mountain to climb obviously from a team that has been struggling."
Some of the sparse crowd left early – with Vandeweghe and Harris getting a couple of jeers.
Two sitting courtside wearing Santa Claus hats and paper bags emblazoned "0-18" over their heads hung on for the final period.
stayed -covered paper bags that read "0-18" over their heads were
still there in the fourth quarter.