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Brook Lopez feels Philly's pain

PHILADELPHIA -- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez empathizes with what the winless Philadelphia 76ers are going through.

Lopez was the best player on the 2009-10 Nets, who started their season an NBA-worst 0-18. During that stretch, the Nets blew a 19-point lead in their season-opener (a 95-93 defeat in Minnesota), dropped a pair of three-point games against Philadelphia and fell to 0-10 after Dwyane Wade’s 3-pointer beat them 81-80 with just 0.1 seconds remaining.

They finally won their first game on Dec. 4 versus Charlotte and finished 12-70 that season.

“We were out there fighting and clawing,” Lopez said Wednesday morning, hours before the Nets were set to face the 0-14 Sixers at Wells Fargo Center.

“We were down to eight guys for most of that stretch. We were out there playing for each other every night, and playing hard. We had a lot of hard workers for the position we were in, and we had lost a lot of close losses. We could’ve easily been -- it’s not a fantastic record -- but 5-13, 4-14, something like that. We could’ve had a number of wins. Things just didn’t go our way. We were no question out there fighting every night.”

Five years later, the Nets find themselves playing in a $1 billion arena in Brooklyn with the highest payroll in the league.

“Looking where we’ve built our team to now and the expectations we have now, absolutely, it’s crazy to think that’s quite a bit ago,” Lopez said. “But hopefully for Sixers fans, it’ll go just as fast.”

The 1973 Sixers finished with the NBA’s worst regular-season record, going 9-73. The 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats had the worst winning percentage in league history (.106), but that was a lockout-shortened, 66-game season (7-59).

During the Nets' record losing streak, the team hoped its woes would lead to the No. 1 draft pick and John Wall. Instead, the Nets lost the lottery, drafted Derrick Favors and eventually traded him in the blockbuster deal that landed Deron Williams.

The Nets are favored by eight points in Wednesday's game against the 76ers, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. A loss would prove to be an embarrassment of grand proportion for Brooklyn, so its players had better be ready to go from the jump.

“I’m sure they’re very hungry,” Lopez said of the Sixers.

Bad memories: Lopez’s 2013-14 season ended in Philadelphia last Dec. 20, when he broke his foot.

“I thought about it once last night, but nothing I’m worried about,” he said.

Going zone? Nets coach Lionel Hollins mentioned that the team has been working on some zone defense in practice recently “just to have it, in case we need it.”

“You could see it [tonight],” Hollins said.

The Nets have basically run a man-to-man defense under Hollins. Over their 1-6 stretch, they are 19th in defensive rating, so maybe throwing in a little zone now and again couldn’t hurt.