- Associated Press - Sunday, October 31, 2010

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - If this was a measuring stick game to see how close the New Jersey Nets are to the Miami Heat, throw out the yardstick.

The Nets might need GPS to see how far they are from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh after an embarrassing 101-78 loss at the Prudential Center on Sunday.

New Jersey came into this game with high hopes after winning its first two contests for new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and new coach Avery Johnson.

It was their best start since 2002-03, and a good game by the revamped team _ 11 new players _ might have given them some belief that things would be changing after a 12-win season a year ago.

Instead, the Nets looked horrible against the Heat and the Big Three. They fell behind by double digits early and never got below that margin in the final three quarters.

“We still have some work to be done,” said Nets point guard Devin Harris, who had 13 points. “Obviously, we didn’t start the game they way we wanted to. We kind of got knocked back onto our heels and didn’t recover. We didn’t shoot well tonight. We didn’t guard well tonight. We just didn’t play well tonight overall.”

The disappointment was evident watching center Brook Lopez at his locker after the game. He looked at the final statistics for about 10 seconds and then crumpled the paper in a ball and threw it into his locker.

He admitted this was a measuring stick for New Jersey.

“That’s why it is disappointing, we didn’t have it most of the game,” said Lopez, who led the Nets with 20 points. “But I haven’t come to expect that from this team. I am sure we will bounce back and be all right.”

Johnson said this was just one of those games that his team struggled in every phase, and it never improved. He seemed shocked to discover the Nets didn’t block a shot, noting it might be the first time that’s happened to one of his teams.

“We made it look worse than it really was,” Johnson said. “We malfunctioned with our system. We were trying to do things that we are not capable of doing. Then when we had opportunities and got guys in their strengths we didn’t make the defense pay. So not a very good job on any level.”

Harris said the Nets‘ game plan focused on swinging the ball on the weakside on offense and attacking, driving the ball in the lane and finding the open man, and forcing the Heat to handle the ball with their weak hands. They failed in every category.

“We didn’t play well overall,” Harris said. “It was as simple as that. Defensively, we didn’t execute. Offensively, we didn’t execute and they are a team that takes advantage of that.”

The one positive was the play of rookie power forward Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick overall in the draft. He recorded his first double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, highlighted by 10 offensive rebounds.

The offensive glass was the one area New Jersey dominated on the score sheet with a 19-5 advantage.

Lopez wasn’t impressed.

“It really didn’t feel like we were in it much of the game,” he said. “We never really responded to any of their runs.”

Johnson also seemed to realize that’s one of the problems that happens when a young teams faces one of the NBA’s best.

The teams just were not on the same level.

“We’re still on the ground floor,” Johnson said. “We’re three games into this, and the world is not over.”

Prokhorov, who attended the Nets‘ first three games, is heading back to Russia.

“I am very pleased with the team’s progress and look forward to watching the Nets reach their full potential as the season continues,” he said in a statement released by the team. “I had a great time at the games and being a part of all the fun. I’ll be back.”



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