Nets hit another rock bottom in Minnesota

Heck with trying to be the best team in the city or talking championship.

The Nets just need to win a game.

Brooklyn's free fall continued Friday night in Minnesota, where the team was annihilated by the Timberwolves 111-81 at Target Center.

The Nets (3-9), who went into the season with a $190 million roster and extremely high expectations, have lost four straight and seven of eight. They are 1-7 on the road.

On Friday night, it felt like they hit rock bottom -- though it also felt that way after blowout losses at Orlando and Sacramento.

Despite not having Deron Williams (ankle), Brook Lopez (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Jason Terry (knee), who all sat out Friday due to injury, the Nets looked flat and lifeless, playing with a lack of passion and energy. Brooklyn trailed by as many as 35.

"The effort was there," Nets coach Jason Kidd told reporters in Minnesota.

Perhaps he was watching a different game.

"We're soul-searching right now," Kevin Garnett told reporters in Minnesota. "Quitting is not an option.

"I think we all need to pick it up. I think we need to look ourselves in the mirror and fix this thing."

Where do they start?

The Nets came into the season facing questions about age, health and chemistry. So far, they've had few answers. Something needs to change.

Kidd and his players are still trying to figure it out. And it's been impossible to do so with Lopez and Williams -- the team's two cornerstones, in the prime of their careers -- sitting in suits on the sidelines. Very few teams could overcome that.

And let's face it: At this point in their careers, Garnett, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson cannot carry a team. Johnson (15 points) was decent against the Wolves, but Garnett (8 points, 8 rebounds) and Pierce (2-for-11, 7-for-34 in his last three games) had little impact.

"I'm struggling right now," Pierce said. "I've gotta play better."

He isn't the only one.

The Nets led 2-0 Friday night after Garnett knocked down a jumper. But things spiraled out of control from there. Brooklyn shot 4-for-18, turned the ball over nine times and scored a season-low 14 points in the first quarter.

Then the third-quarter woes resurfaced. The Nets were outscored 33-21 in the frame and fell to 0-9 when losing the third this season. In all, the Nets shot 39.7 percent from the field and had 20 turnovers to just seven assists.

"We have to move the ball, and they're just not doing that," Kidd said.

Minnesota (8-6), which grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and had only eight turnovers, rolled despite shooting just 41.2 percent from the field. Its starters, led by Kevin Love’s 17 points and 16 rebounds, were all effective and able to rest during the fourth.

In their past eight games, the Nets are being outscored by nearly 10 points per game (94.8 to 104.6), while shooting just 42.4 percent from the field and averaging 15.1 turnovers.

"We've created this monster, and we've gotta deal with it," Garnett said. "Everybody's frustrated. I don't think there's a happy person in here."

There shouldn't be.

After the game, Kidd said that playing time is up for grabs. Didn't think you'd hear that in Game No. 12, did you? Nope. Not after the Nets held a closed-door meeting four days ago.

It didn't have any effect. Neither did the technical foul and flagrant 1 KG picked up after getting into it with Love early in the third. So much for trying to fire your team up. Minnesota ripped off a 19-2 run after that. The rout was already on.

"We're still confident we're going to turn this thing around," Pierce said.

They keep saying it. But when is it actually going to happen?

Missing your best players makes it tough. Getting outplayed makes it nearly impossible.

Asked after the game why his message isn't getting through, Kidd responded, "That's a good question."

Sure is. If only Kidd and his players had answers.