We learned a few things from the first installment of this supposed battle for New York. One of those things we already knew: The Brooklyn Nets are a mess.

And they're Jason Kidd's mess to clean up, even if he doesn't think so.

"I think you get evaluated by being whole. It starts there," Kidd said after a 30-point loss to the Knicks on Thursday night, a nationally televised embarrassment that exposed the nation to basketball dysfunction at its worst.

"And then once that occurs, then you're evaluated," Kidd said. "And that's as simple as it gets."

But it's not simple; it's complicated, as Joe Johnson was saying in the Nets' locker room moments later. Despite the raucous chants of Knicks fans that filled the Barclays Center, Johnson was thinking clearly after this 113-83 loss to the rivals from Manhattan, even though Kidd wasn't -- and hasn't been for a while.

"It's basketball," Johnson said. "It's not that hard. I think we're making it a lot more complicated than it really is."

More on what Johnson meant by that in a moment. But first, Kidd's lame attempt at answering an astute question about how he evaluates himself and his 5-14 record warrants further examination.

About a week ago, after a 19-point loss to the Rockets at home, Kidd dusted off the old "blame me" tactic from whatever coaching handbook he borrowed from someone who has coached before. It's a tried and true strategy, but one that can only be used once. After that, blame gets assigned by those in a position to assign it.

So on this night, after a second straight blowout loss at home, Kidd said, "We're not going to make any excuses," and then proceeded to hide behind the injuries to Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko and use them as excuses. If this is the kind of consistent messaging the Nets are getting on the practice floor and in the meeting room, no wonder they're so confused.

And so bad.

Unable to work with lead assistant Lawrence Frank, who was signed to a six-year deal averaging $1 million per season to fill the gaps on Kidd's resume, Kidd reassigned him this week to write "daily reports." The lawyers might make that much or more writing their own billing reports as they sort out the mess. All we know for now is that Kidd has lost his first two games without Frank next to him on the bench by a combined 54 points. And more than one player after the latest debacle alluded to Kidd putting in new schemes since Frank's departure.