NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at New Jersey
(Sunday, February 27th)
Final Score: New Jersey 104, Cleveland 98
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Vince Carter scored 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the New Jersey Nets held off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-98, at the Meadowlands.
Jason Kidd added 14 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Nets, who nearly blew a 20-point, third-quarter lead before winning their second in a row.
LeBron James scored 28 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 20 points and 18 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who dropped their sixth straight on the road. Jeff McInnis netted 23 points in the loss.
The Nets, who held a 58-46 lead at halftime, outscored Cleveland 14-6 at the start of the third quarter and took a 20-point lead at 72-52 on a free throw by Nenad Krstic with 7:45 left in the period.
But the Cavaliers came back with eight straight points and pulled within 12 at 72-60 on a three-pointer by McInnis with 5:35 remaining in the third. Cleveland managed to get within six three times in the final minutes of the third, the last time on a dunk by Robert Traylor that made it 81-75 with 52 seconds left in the quarter.
New Jersey took an 83-75 lead into the fourth, but a three-pointer by former Net Lucious Harris pulled Cleveland within four just two minutes into the quarter. Ilgauskas' basket off a rebound of his own miss cut the Nets' lead to just 83-81 with 9:31 left to play.
A long jumper by Harris tied the game at 83-83 with 8:38 left, but New Jersey scored the next four points and took an 87-83 lead on a Krstic free throw with 7:14 remaining.
A tip-in by Ilgauskas with 2:06 left brought the Cavaliers to within 95-93, but a jumper by Carter and a three-pointer by Travis Best -- his first field goal of the game after an 0-for-6 start -- gave the Nets a 100-93 advantage with 1:13 to play.
"I missed a lot of shots, a lot of open shots," said Best. "That last one, I really stepped into it and I felt it was going down."
With the Nets up five, Carter turned the ball over with 28 seconds left to give Cleveland a chance. However, McInnis' jumper at the other end rimmed out and Kidd made a pair of free throws to make it 102-93 with 15 seconds left.
James banked in a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to make it a four-point contest, but that was as close as the Cavaliers would get as Kidd made two more free throws for the final margin.
"I think this team is definitely good enough (to make the playoffs)," said Carter about the Nets' chances of making a run at the postseason. "That's what we're playing for now, playoff positioning."
Krstic chipped in with 15 points and Ron Mercer had 10 for New Jersey, which shot 41 percent (32-of-79) from the field, going 6-of-15 from three-point range.
Traylor finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for the Cavaliers, who shot 42 percent (35-of-84) from the floor and went 5-of-12 from beyond the arc.
"We made a run," said James. "To come back from 21 down, you've got to play perfect basketball and they have to miss a lot of shots."
After a jumper by Ilgauskas pulled Cleveland even at 8-8 with eight minutes left in the first quarter, New Jersey outscored the Cavaliers 22-12 the rest of the period. Carter, who scored 10 points during the run, threw down a dunk just before the buzzer to give the Nets a 30-20 advantage.
New Jersey continued to push ahead at the start of the second with a 16-5 surge. Krstic finished off that run with a pair of free throws to give the Nets a game-high, 21-point lead at 46-25 with 6:38 left in the quarter.
But Cleveland answered with an 18-8 spurt and pulled within 11 at 54-43 on Traylor's jumper with 1:24 left in the second.
Carter finished with 22 points in the first half, as the Nets shot 54 percent (21-of-39) from the floor and turned the ball over just three times. Cleveland, led by McInnis' 12 points and Ilgauskas' 10 points and 11 rebounds, shot 43 percent (18-of-42) while committing 10 turnovers in the first 24 minutes of action.
Jiri Welsch, who was traded from Boston to Cleveland on Thursday, missed the game with a right quad contusion. He played five scoreless minutes in his debut with the Cavaliers, a 106-82 loss at Indiana on Friday...Cleveland has not won a road game since a 105-87 victory at Golden State on January 22...The Cavaliers outrebounded the Nets, 49-32...Cleveland players Drew Gooden, McInnis and Traylor, and head coach Paul Silas each picked up technical fouls.
02/27 17:35:42 ET