Dec. 25, 1968: One Christmas loss of many in a lost season
The 1968-69 season was the first for the New York Nets after playing in the ABA’s inaugural season in Teaneck as the New Jersey Americans.
Playing in front of sparse crowds at Long Island Arena in Commack, the Nets started the season with four wins in their first seven games, but they year was soon weighted down with many losses as the Nets finished 17-61, missing the playoffs by 19 games.
While it may not have been a cast of thousands sporting the red, white and blue under coach Max Zaslofsky, who resigned as season’s end, the Nets used 23 different players that season, with no player appearing in more than 76 games.
On Christmas, the Nets led the visiting Denver Rockets at the half 56-52 before Denver erupted for 42 points in the third quarter en route to a 129-110 victory, outscoring New York 77-54 in the second half.
Ron Perry, a guard from Virginia Tech who had been acquired from the Miami Floridians nine days earlier before being dealt to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 31, scored 30 points to lead the Nets and Levern Tart, who would be traded to the Houston Mavericks on Jan. 31, added 20 points.