Nets beat Cavs, snap losing streak

New Jersey had lost six in a row
March 12, 2008 7:28:39 PM PDT
Richard Jefferson scored 24 points, and the New Jersey Nets overcame LeBron James' 42 points to hold off the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-99 on Wednesday night and snap a six-game losing streak.Bostjan Nachbar added 21 points and Devin Harris had 19, including three buckets in the last four-plus minutes after Cleveland had cut a 19-point lead to one.

James moved into second place on Cleveland's career scoring list, and added 11 rebounds and seven assists. But the short-handed Cavaliers got little else from their starting lineup and had a two-game winning streak snapped.

In 375 career games, James has 10,267 points. Austin Carr had 10,265 in 635 games. It won't be long before James passes Brad Daugherty, who finished with 10,389 in 548 games.

Sasha Pavlovic was in Cleveland's starting lineup in his first game since spraining his left foot on Jan. 23, missing all three shots in nine scoreless minutes. Ben Wallace was out with back spasms, joining Zydrunas Ilgauskas (back) and Daniel Gibson (left ankle) as sidelined key members of the Cavs' rotation.

The Cavs trailed by double digits for most of the first three quarters, then got within one on a couple of occasions in the fourth behind James and reserves Devin Brown and Damon Jones. Brown scored 19 and Jones had 12.

The Nets were coming off an 0-5 road trip through the Southwest Division in which they were hardly competitive. But they looked completely different back home, blitzing the Cavs from the start and improving to 3-0 against the team that knocked them out of last season's playoffs.

New Jersey made its first nine shots and started 14-of-16 in a 38-point first quarter, matching its best period of the season. The Nets hit 17 of 22 shots (77 percent) in the first 12 minutes and led 38-23 after Carter picked off James' pass and converted a layup with 0.5 seconds left.

Cleveland chipped away over the next two quarters, then Jones hit three 3-pointers as Cleveland outscored New Jersey 22-10 to open the fourth quarter, cutting the Nets' lead to 90-89 with 5:29 to play. The Cavs missed chances to take their first lead on the next two possessions, with Brown committing an offensive foul and James missing from the perimeter.

Harris made a layup and the Nets turned James' turnover into Nachbar's layup to build the lead back to five. Cleveland got within one again with 16 seconds left, but Marcus Williams made a free throw and Vince Carter followed with four more.