After taking a serious beating in DC, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro wonders just what the New Jersey Nets are so giddy about.

Inside the locker room, it was downright chirpy. Vince Carter (above, right) and Linton Johnson were yukking it up, and they weren’t the only ones. Voices were louder than they’d normally be after a victory.

Jason Kidd waited for the right moment and tried to slip out without being noticed. When reporters chased him down in the corridor, Richard Jefferson tried to split under the cover of the captain’s media magnetism.

The Nets lost, 94-74. What’s more, they were humiliated by a Washington Wizards team that was without Gilbert Arenas — he rested a bruised lower back — falling behind by 15 at the quarter, 20 in the second period, and by 26 early in the fourth.

“I have no idea,” was Jefferson’s game summary. “Really truly? I’m clueless. You’ve been here as long as me, and your guess is as good as mine. I really don’t know anymore.”

“The (lack of) effort tonight, you could feel it from the jump ball,” said Vince Carter, who opened the game 0-for-6. “I started off with a 3-point foul (giving Hayes a four-point play). And we never really picked it up from there.”

“The inconsistency,” Kidd said. “We’ve got to try and figure out how to stop that. And if we can, we’ve got to do it soon, because if you’re going to win two, lose two, and we’re going to hover around .500

Actually, .500 is looking good right now for a 9-11 team that has a curious disability: For all their talent, the Nets have yet to show that they’re good at any one thing.