On a day when everyone discusses what he or she is thankful for, I think the New Jersey Nets are thankful that they don't have a basketball game scheduled for tonight.
Playing basketball has been a chore, an exercise in misery, for Lawrence Frank's team. At 0-15, they're two losses away from tying the worst-ever mark to start an NBA season; the 1988-89 Miami Heat and 1998-99 Los Angeles Clippers started 0-17.
That puts the Nets three losses away from ultimate humiliation.
However, the Nets won't set the dubious record or even tie it. They're going to beat the Sacramento Kings on the road Friday night. Here are five reasons why.
THEY'LL WIN THE BATTLE ON THE GLASS. Sacramento isn't into the whole going-into-high-traffic-areas-and-winning-battles thing. The Nets, as bad as they are, are the No. 5 rebounding team in the NBA. Brook Lopez bounced back from a horrible Tuesday game this week with a powerhouse performance on Wednesday that included 32 points and 14 boards. Ten of those were offensive -- an NBA high this season.
THEIR CONFIDENCE MAY BE GROWING. They've lost again and again, but usually in pathetic fashion. On Wednesday, the Nets lost "hard," leaving it all on the floor against a very tough Portland team. Hanging with the Blazers -- plus getting healthier by the game -- could boost New Jersey's confidence.
DEVIN HARRIS AND COURTNEY LEE ARE ON THE MEND. Harris, returning from injury, should rejoin the starting lineup for this Friday's game. You know he's itching to break sports betting fans' hearts and get a "W" for his team. Courtney Lee's minutes are also gradually improving. A fully healthy Nets team isn't nearly this bad.
SACRAMENTO GIVES UP LOTS OF POINTS. The Kings will make things easy for Harris and Lopez, as they allow the sixth-most points in the league. The Nets will get plenty of open looks.
And the most important reason....
THE LAKERS AND MAVERICKS ARE NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE. The first of those two games is at Staples Center. That means Friday's game in Sacramento is pretty much New Jersey's only chance for salvation. The Laker game is an automatic loss and the Mavs game is close.
Bet on the Nets at your sportsbook Friday night. They'll win. They have to.