Nets beat Knicks, inch closer to playoffs

March 24, 2008 7:46:47 PM PDT
Vince Carter scored 27 points, Richard Jefferson added 26 and the New Jersey Nets moved within one game of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 106-91 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night.New Jersey beat its cross-Hudson rivals for the first time this season after three losses.

Nenad Krstic added 22 points for the Nets, who are a half-game ahead of Indiana (29-41) and one game behind Atlanta (30-39) in the conference standings.

Jefferson scored 21 of his points in the first half as the Nets took a 56-45 lead into the break.

The Knicks, who have lost five in a row and 12 of their last 13, pulled back within 11 points, 63-52, on David Lee's layup with 8:55 remaining in the third quarter.

However, that was as close as the Knicks got the rest of the way, as the Nets scored the next 11 points in a 19-4 run. Carter had nine points during that stretch, while Krstic added eight.

The Nets fell behind 8-4 early in the contest, but scored the next eight points and took the lead for good on Josh Boone's dunk with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.

New Jersey increased its lead to 15 twice in the second quarter, the final time coming on Jefferson's free throw with 4:00 left in the first half.

Boone finished with 11 rebounds for the Nets.

Jamal Crawford led the Knicks with 26 points. Zach Randolph, who returned to the Knicks' starting lineup after sitting the previous two games because of a coach's decision, had 17 points.

Lee finished with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Wilson Chandler added 12 points for the Knicks.