Try more than 10 minutes without a point and nearly 11 1/2 without a field goal. Add in another key injury and another deflating loss and the Nets' season is already in a freefall.
Gerald Wallace had 24 points and a career-high 20 rebounds and the Bobcats -- the NBA's lowest-scoring team -- overcame their horrible first half by being just a little better with the ball than the winless Nets in their 79-68 victory on Monday.
"It was embarrassing," guard Rafer Alston said after the Nets fell to 0-4. "Offensively, we have to do it together."
The Nets went 0-for-11 from the field with nine turnovers in Charlotte's 24-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters in the longest scoring drought in the NBA in nearly four years. It turned a once 14-point Nets cushion into a comfortable 63-51 Charlotte lead with 8:38 left.
To make matters worse, the Nets lost forward Yi Jianlian during the drought when a falling Wallace rolled into his right knee. He'll undergo an MRI Tuesday to determine the damage to the medial collateral ligament, while All-Star Devin Harris was in Chicago on Monday getting a second opinion on his strained groin.
"One time I looked up and we were 6-for-38 [from the field] and we were down 11," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "I kept telling them if we didn't defend we'd lose by 40."
That defense, with the help of Nets' miscues, led the Nets to stay stuck at 48 points for 10 minutes, 3 seconds. After Yi hit one free throw with 6:41 left in the third quarter, the Nets didn't score again until Chris Douglas-Robert's three-point play with 8:38 left in the fourth. It ended a field-goal drought of 11:25.
Douglas-Roberts had 20 points and Brook Lopez added 18, but had seven of New Jersey's 26 turnovers. Two nights after Nets coach Lawrence Frank said the team's defensive effort was "pitiful" in a loss to Washington, the offense was worse.
The last time a team went longer without scoring was Milwaukee's 10:07 drought against Houston on Jan. 23, 2006, according to STATS LLC.
"Guys can't get bored with the process and get frustrated because they're only averaging 13-14 points," said Alston, who shot 1-for-8 filling in at point guard for Harris. "Yeah, that might be your average right now. So what? In the third quarter, it was bad from a team standpoint."
The Nets tied a team low with seven points in the third quarter on 2-of-15 shooting. That allowed the athletic Wallace to take over. He shot 7-of-14 from the field and 10-of-13 from the line while dominating the glass. His previous career-high was 17 rebounds and Charlotte held a 51-33 advantage on the boards.
"Larry Brown, he says I should get every rebound that comes off the rim," Wallace said.
There were plenty of them in this one. A barrage of missed layups, open jumpers and shot clock violations in the first quarter sent folks scrambling for the record books.
The teams combined to make eight of 42 shots and New Jersey led 14-10, just six points off the NBA record for the fewest points by two teams in a quarter.
When Vladimir Radmanovic sent a crosscourt pass into the third row early in the second quarter, the Bobcats were 5-for-30 from the field and trailed only 20-12. They broke 20 points with 3:44 left in the second quarter and Bell's 3-pointer with 1:45 left in the half was Charlotte's first made jump shot of the game.
The Bobcats shot a team-worst 19 percent in the first half, yet trailed only 41-33. Then the Nets imploded and the Bobcats a win in Bell's season debut.
Deciding to put off surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, Bell looked rusty. He had three points and four rebounds and shot 1-for-8, about an average shooting night in a game where scoring was so difficult.
"Our defense is what kept us in the game," Wallace said. "It gave us a chance to win in the second half."
The Nets dropped to 8-2 in Charlotte. The Bobcats are the only team they have a winning road record against. ... Brown said Bobcats G Ronald "Flip" Murray (shin) could return Friday against Atlanta. ... The Nets are awaiting a second opinion on F Tony Battie's injured right knee. ... Nets G Keyon Dooling (hip) went through shootaround, but isn't ready to return. ... Nets F Trenton Hassell (personal reasons) wasn't with the team.
- Joe DeRosa
- David Jones
- Marat Kogut