Nets-Nuggets Preview

The Associated Press

Jason Kidd was in his last full season with the Nets the last time they won in Denver.

He won't have much time to get his club ready after it matched the franchise's fourth-worst loss.

Times are also tough for fellow first-year coach Brian Shaw's Nuggets, who have lost eight of nine entering Thursday night's matchup.

Brooklyn (26-29) fell 124-80 at Portland on Wednesday. It was the Nets' worst loss since a 110-63 defeat at Memphis on Dec. 13, 2003 - when Kidd was playing point guard.

The Nets trailed by 24 at halftime against the Trail Blazers and Kidd did not use anyone for more than 27 minutes with an eye on Thursday.

"Again on a long road trip you may have a game like this," Kidd said. "You don't want to but it happens and so we've got to put this one behind us and get ready for Denver."

Now Brooklyn will try to improve on a 3-10 mark in the second half of back-to-back games and avoid a seventh straight loss in Denver. Kidd had 18 points and 12 assists in the Nets' last win there, 112-102 on Jan. 27, 2007.

The Nets will be out to avenge a 111-87 home loss to the Nuggets (25-31) on Dec. 3. Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko all missed that game due to injuries.

Denver is the team battling injuries now. Ty Lawson has missed the last seven games with a left rib fracture, Darrell Arthur is out with a left hip strain and Nate Robinson is out for the season with a torn left ACL.

Those players combined for 32 points in the first meeting.

Shaw's short-handed club fell behind by 11 points after one quarter Tuesday and its late rally fell short in a 100-95 home defeat to the Trail Blazers.

"The effort that they showed for the majority of that fourth quarter is the effort that we have to come out with from the beginning of the game," Shaw said. "I didn't think we had that in the first quarter and that resulted in an 11-point deficit in the first quarter."

This trip to Colorado will feature a special moment in Jason Collins' third game for Brooklyn since signing his historic 10-day contract. The family of slain Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard is expected to make the drive to Denver for the game.

Shepard was tortured and murdered in 1998 because he was gay. Collins wears his No. 98 jersey in Shepard's honor. He wants to keep the details of any meeting with Judy Shepard to himself.

''Obviously, it's extremely special and I'm very much looking forward to meeting them,'' said Collins, whose jersey has become a top seller according to the NBA.

The Nets were outrebounded 53-29 by the Trail Blazers and now will have to try to slow down J.J. Hickson, who grabbed a career-high 25 boards and scored 16 points Tuesday for the Nuggets. Hickson came off the bench after 50 straight starts.

''Twenty-five boards is exciting, but the win would have been more exciting,'' Hickson said.

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