EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- No matter how bleak things look for the Knicks, they can take comfort knowing worse basketball is being played 10 miles away.
And if the Nets don't win soon, they could be the worst ever to start an NBA season.
The Nets inched closer to the NBA record of 17 straight losses to start a season, held by Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers. They'll try to avoid it during a difficult four-game trip out West that starts with back-to-back games at Denver and Portland, capped by a visit to the Lakers.
"I've never been in a situation like this," Nets guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "I really can't describe the feeling I have right now. I take every loss very hard, but this many losses without a win, I really don't know what to feel. I don't know where I'm at right now. Mentally, it's tough."
David Lee added 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Wilson Chandler and Larry Hughes each finished with 13 points for the Knicks, who have won two straight after a 1-9 start that was the worst in franchise history and avoided what would have been another low point.
Douglas-Roberts scored 24 points and Brook Lopez had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who shot only 4 of 18 from 3-point range and barely broke 90 points against one of the NBA's worst defensive teams.
"It's frustrating all the way around and you can see it on guys' faces," Nets guard Devin Harris said.
Harris was back for the injury-depleted Nets after missing 10 games with a strained right groin. He finished with 12 points, while Terrence Williams had 17.
The loss could put more pressure on Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who won his first 13 games after he was promoted in January 2004 and now has a losing streak that matches it.
"I think it'd be tough on any coach, especially with all the injuries," Harris said. "It's tough to try to mix and match up what you have on the floor. I thought he's done a great job of that and with some guys coming back ... we can start to cut down on some of these minutes so guys can be fresher for that fourth quarter."
According to STATS LLC, there hadn't been an NBA game matching teams who had each played at least 11 games and combined to win so few of them since Dec. 3, 1994, when Minnesota was 2-13 as it hosted the 0-14 Clippers.
The Knicks held on to win after building a 14-point lead midway through the third quarter. The Nets cut it to one on a couple of occasions in the fourth and were only down two after Douglas-Roberts' jumper with 1:57 to go, but Lee made a layup before Harrington's 3-pointer put it away with a minute left.
There were sloppy passes and errant shots, but at least it was fun for the kids, who got to see Dora the Explorer come on the court a few times and a half-deflated Elmo balloon hover over it during much of the second quarter.
And there were plenty of items tossed into the stands during giveaways -- not counting Chandler's third-quarter pass that landed in the fourth row.
"It looked like we won," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That's all I care about."
Sure it was messy, but these teams expected a tough go of it this season while building for the future.
During a second-quarter timeout, YES Network showed next summer's projections for available salary cap space, where the Nets are expected to slightly edge the Knicks with around $24 million.
But the plan to save money to be aggressive in free agency leaves neither team with much hope of being competitive now. In need of a turnaround, the Knicks considered signing Allen Iverson this week before ruling it out Friday.
Despite some ugly shooting that included two airballs by Gallinari and a shot by Eddy Curry that nearly went over the backboard, the Knicks led 29-24 after one quarter. The period ended with a livid D'Antoni yelling at Nate Robinson after the Knicks guard shot at the wrong basket after taking an inbounds pass with 0.5 seconds left, instead of just letting the clock run out.
The shot went in just after the buzzer, nearly giving the Nets three points.
"He was like, 'What if it went in?'" Robinson said. "I was like, 'My bad.' I waited to the buzzer went off. He talked to me about it and to be ready to play."
New York extended the advantage into double digits late in the second quarter and led 52-43 at halftime.
- The Knicks will honor Yankees manager Joe Girardi with the November "City Spirit" Award, given to someone who's made a "significant difference in the lives of others," during Sunday's game against Boston. Driving home the night of the World Series clincher, he stopped to aid a motorist who had been injured in an accident.