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NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at New Jersey

(Tuesday, December 27th)

Final Score: New Jersey 96, Cleveland 91

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Richard Jefferson scored 28 points to lead New Jersey past Cleveland, 96-91, at Continental Airlines Arena.

Vince Carter added 21 points and nine rebounds for the red-hot Nets, who have won a season-high seven straight games and are on their longest tear since ripping off a franchise-best 14 consecutive victories in 2003-04.

Jason Kidd finished with 14 points, nine assists and nine boards while Nenad Krstic ended with 13 points and eight rebounds in the win.

"It was a great team effort...Everybody did their part tonight and everybody stayed in character," said Kidd.

LeBron James poured in a game-high 31 points, grabbed 10 boards and handed out eight assists for the Cavaliers, who had their six-game winning streak halted. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 21 points while Larry Hughes chipped in 16 points and seven assists in the loss.

"We are still getting better," said James. "We are becoming a good team and it is good to see that...We need to approach games like we do at home, which is difficult, but once we get to that point we will be much better."

Trailing by 18 after three quarters, Cleveland made it interesting in the fourth as James' basket with just under three minutes left trimmed the deficit to 89-83.

The Cavs then found themselves down 10 minutes later, but consecutive threes from James and Hughes brought the visitors within 93-89 with 21.6 seconds left. After Carter hit one foul shot, Eric Snow's driving layup brought Cleveland within three.

However, the Cavaliers could not get any closer as Kidd hit a pair of foul shots with just over 15 seconds left to cap the scoring.

"We did not want to get blown out against a team in the Eastern Conference," James added.

New Jersey led by one point late in the first quarter before closing out the period on a 9-2 run. Carter keyed the spurt with five points and the Nets held a 29-21 edge after one.

In the second, the New Jersey margin rose to 11 points on Jefferson's three- pointer early in the period and the Nets continued to add to their lead later in the frame. Kidd's bucket in the waning minutes of the half made it a 53-38 contest. The Nets eventually led 56-41 at the intermission.

Jefferson scored 16 points for New Jersey, which made a blistering 59 percent of its shots in the first half. James had 16 for Cleveland, which connected on only 42 percent of its tries in the opening 24 minutes.

The Cavs opened the third period by scoring eight of the first 10 points, highlighted by four each from James and Ilgauskas, to pull within 58-49. Ilgauskas' jumper moments later cut the gap to six, but the Nets responded with six quick points to widen the lead to 66-54.

New Jersey then made it a 16-point game on Kidd's long three-pointer moments later and carried an 80-62 advantage into the final frame.

Game Notes

Carter was only 5-of-19 from the field, but did make 11-of-15 free throws...The Nets were 26-of-33 from the foul line, while Cleveland was just 15-of-20 from the charity stripe...New Jersey has taken both meetings between the teams this year...Cleveland has lost five straight overall to the Nets and eight straight in the Garden State.

12/27 23:04:52 ET

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