NBA Game Summary - Washington at New Jersey
(Thursday, November 8th)
Final Score: New Jersey 87, Washington 85
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Richard Jefferson finished with 25 points and hit a pair of difference-making free throws with under 30 seconds remaining as the New Jersey Nets recovered from a dismal first half to oust the still-winless Washington Wizards, 87-85.
After Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas combined to hit six consecutive free throws to erase an 85-79 Nets lead, Jefferson flew in to rebound a missed three-pointer by Vince Carter with 24 seconds remaining and drew a foul on Butler. He hit the first, then endured a timeout intended to ice him by Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan, and stepped to the line to calmly sink the second.
Arenas called for a clear-out on the Wizards' potential game-tying possession, but Carter came to help Jefferson with a double-team, and Arenas was forced into the right corner, where his desperation three-point heave fell way short.
"I was going for the win," Arenas said. "When I made my initial move to go left, I should have just stayed left."
Jefferson finished the night a perfect 12-for-12 on free throws, and added six rebounds and a steal to go along with his game-high 25.
Carter had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists and was 12-of-14 from the free-throw line, while Jason Kidd handed out 10 assists and pulled down eight rebounds to go with his six points. Bostan Nachbar added 14 in 19 minutes off the bench for New Jersey, which extended its winning streak to three games.
"Our defense in the second half gave us a chance," Jefferson said. "Guys haven't been shooting the ball well, but our defense allowed us to come back."
Antawn Jamison led the way for the Wizards with 24 points and nine rebounds. Arenas and Butler dropped 21 apiece, but it was not enough to avoid dropping a fourth straight game to open the young season, equaling the franchise's worst start since the then-Bullets started 0-4 in 1992-93.
"We're on the road and we had a chance to win," said Jordan. "(The Nets) are a veteran team, a good team at home. Our guys played very, very hard tonight."
Washington is also 0-3 on the road this season, but heads home to host the Denver Nuggets Friday.
"It seems bad because we started out 0-4, but last year we were 4-9 at the beginning of the season," said Arenas. "In December and January we kicked it into gear. We just have to escape out of this month alive."
Arenas scored the Wizards' first eight points as Washington raced out to a quick 16-2 lead, and led 27-15 after one quarter.
Jefferson and Kidd keyed an 18-2 run in the second quarter that brought the Nets back within two points after being down by as many as 20, but Arenas hit a jumper as the clock expired to give Washington a 41-36 lead at the half.
The Wizards extended the lead to as many as eight in the third, but Carter continued to attack the basket and get to the line, leading the Nets back and sending the game into the fourth quarter with Washington holding a slim 58-57 lead.
The lead switched hands for much of the fourth until a nine-point burst put the Nets up 85-79, as Jefferson hit a three, Carter converted off of a steal, and Jefferson completed a three-point play off a fine dish from Kidd. But the Nets went cold in the final two minutes, and Washington attacked the basket on its way to tying the game prior to Jefferson's foul shots.
Jefferson has led the Nets in scoring in each of its five games this season...New Jersey is 3-1 at home this season and hosts undefeated Boston Saturday before welcoming surprising 4-1 New Orleans Monday...Washington has lost five straight in the Garden State and 13 of its last 14 overall.
11/08 23:08:16 ET