NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at New Jersey
(Wednesday, March 12th)
Final Score: New Jersey 104, Cleveland 99
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Richard Jefferson scored 24 points and handed out six assists, and the New Jersey Nets snapped a six-game losing streak with a 104-99 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Izod Center.
Devin Harris had 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Bostjan Nachbar added 21 points and four boards. New Jersey shot 51.3 percent from the floor and nearly blew a lead of as many as 17, but ultimately managed to pull out its first win in the month of March.
At 26-38, the Nets moved within a half-game of Atlanta for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, though Chicago is also currently tied with New Jersey.
"In the first quarter the ball moved like I've never seen before," Harris said. "Guys passed up open shots to get another guy the basketball. We attacked the basket. We had dunks, we had layups. That's the way we have to play to be successful."
LeBron James nearly produced his second triple-double in as many games, totaling 42 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, but just two other Cavs scored in double figures, and Cleveland saw its two-game win streak halted.
"The thing I'm disappointed about is the last couple of ball games we've come out and had some great looks at the beginning of the game, but defensively we don't play with a sense of urgency," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.
Harris went coast-to-coast past a backpedaling - and then falling - James for a hoop with about 2 1/2 minutes left, giving the Nets a 96-91 lead. James found Anderson Varejao underneath for a lay-in to trim the lead to three, but Harris buried a three from the top of the key to stretch the margin to 99-93.
A Nets turnover led to a Delonte West three-ball in transition, again making it a three-point game with about 45 seconds remaining. Harris missed on a three-point attempt, and Wally Szczerbiak corralled the rebound, giving Cleveland a chance to tie or cut it to one.
James was fouled on his way to the hoop and nearly got a difficult finish attempt to fall, but instead settled for two free throws that made it 99-98 with 16.7 ticks on the clock.
Marcus Williams was immediately fouled on the ensuing Nets possession, and missed the second of two, but Vince Carter snuck behind Varejao for a huge offensive rebound, and then hit a pair from the line to make it 102-98 with 14.5 seconds to go.
James got one free throw at the other end, but Carter responded by going 2- for-2, and Damon Jones' last-gasp three went begging, ensuring the victory for New Jersey.
Carter finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists on a night that saw him hit just 5-of-19 field-goal attempts. Josh Boone added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Nenad Krstic had 10 and four.
Devin Brown totaled 19 points and seven boards off the Cavs bench, and Jones went 4-for-8 from beyond the arc on his way to 12 points.
New Jersey hit 17-of-22 shots from the floor on its way to a 38-23 lead after one quarter. The lead grew to as many as 17 before Cleveland ripped off a 15-4 run that made it 46-40 with just under five minutes left in the half.
Harris got to the rim for a bucket to make it an eight-point game, and the Nets closed the half strong for a 58-47 lead at the break.
The Nets didn't allow the Cavs any ground in the third, and the margin was 80-67 going to the fourth. Cleveland slowly made up the deficit in the fourth, though, and James, playing with four fouls, made it a six-point game at 85-79 with his jumper just inside the eight-minute mark.
Moments later, James put back a Varejao miss to trim the margin to 88-83, and Jones' three made it a two-point game with a little over six minutes still remaining.
New Jersey shot 61.9 percent in the first half, and hit 6-of-13 three-point attempts (46 percent)...Cleveland's Ben Wallace did not play because of back spasms; Cavs guard Sasha Pavlovic was cleared to return Wednesday from a sprained right midfoot that has kept him sidelined most of the season, but did not see action...James scored 22 points in the first half, and finished the night 12-for-23 from the floor and 16-of-23 from the foul line.
03/12 23:38:33 ET