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Cleveland at New Jersey

Nets knock off Cavs despite LeBron's 42-point effort

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New Jersey needed only 12 minutes to start forgetting a horrible road trip. That's all the time Mike Brown needed to realize his team still can't stop the Nets.

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Richard Jefferson scored 24 points, and the Nets overcame LeBron James' 42 points to hold off the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-99 on Wednesday night and snap a six-game losing streak.

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

"It was a must-win situation for us," point guard Devin Harris said. "We had a rough road trip. We needed this win to get our confidence back."

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.

"They kicked our behind. Right now, we don't have any answers obviously for that team and it showed tonight, it showed in the first two games," Brown said. "They got our number. They kick our behind and until we go and prove different, you've got to give them credit. Richard Jefferson, Vince (Carter), they've had a field day every time we've played them."

Bostjan Nachbar added 21 points and Harris had 19, including three buckets in the last four-plus minutes after Cleveland had cut a 19-point deficit to one. New Jersey climbed back into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We got Devin back two games before we went on that road trip. If you're trying to establish an identity, it's hard to do it against San Antonio back-to-back, against New Orleans, Dallas and Houston on a 20-game win streak," Jefferson said. "It's difficult, but no one here was looking down or been upset. We were frustrated, but it's going to take time. It's good to be back in the Eastern Conference."

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.

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.

"We lost the game in the first quarter," James said. "Giving up 38 points, that's their season high, and we lost by five points and got outscored by 15 in the first quarter. So we started off, we didn't show no adjustments on the defensive end and were very lackadaisical, myself included. And we let them just do what they wanted to do in the first quarter."

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 Carter followed with four more.

Carter was one of six Nets in double figures, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

"It was a really good team win," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You look at all the guys who had assists and all the different guys who scored. Hopefully we can use this as the blueprint to how we're going to play."

Notes

  • James has scored 37 or more points in five of his last six games and has seven 40-point games this season.
  • James denied a report that he provided a ticket for 17-year-old Anthony Erskine, the fan who came onto the court to meet him last week at Madison Square Garden after James came out of a game against the Knicks. "That never happened. I don't know where that rumor started, I don't know where it came from," James said, adding he didn't even know if Erskine would be at the game.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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New Net Devin Harris provides 19 points in the win, including this easy dunk.  (Getty Images)
New Net Devin Harris provides 19 points in the win, including this easy dunk. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Cleveland (37-28) 2324203299
New Jersey (27-38) «38202224104
CLE:L. James 42 Pts
CLE:L. James 11 Reb
CLE:L. James 7 Ast
NJ:R. Jefferson 24 Pts
NJ:V. Carter 8 Reb
NJ:V. Carter 6 Ast
Players of the Game
New JerseyCleveland

R. Jefferson

L. James
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
244642117

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Cleveland
L. James, SF4612-2316-23117542
A. Varejao, C334-101-29069
J. Smith, PF292-61-27325
D. West, SG191-32-21235
S. Pavlovic, SG100-30-00000
D. Brown, SG386-113-474419
W. Szczerbiak, SF313-81-14547
D. Jones, PG294-100-034012
D. Jones, PF50-00-01000
Z. Ilgauskas, CDid Not Play
E. Snow, PGDid Not Play
B. Wallace, CDid Not Play
K. Dickens, SFDid Not Play
B. Thomas, SGDid Not Play
D. Gibson, PGDid Not Play
Totals 32-7424-3443252499
 43.2%70.6% 
New Jersey
R. Jefferson, SF428-117-846324
V. Carter, SG415-194-586414
D. Harris, SG378-141-155219
J. Boone, PF255-73-471613
N. Krstic, C225-70-014310
B. Nachbar, SF277-114-442321
D. Diop, C161-10-02122
M. Williams, PG160-51-24501
T. Hassell, SF80-10-00020
S. Williams, PF50-00-21020
D. Armstrong, PGDid Not Play
K. Van Horn, PFDid Not Play
S. Swift, CDid Not Play
M. Ager, SGDid Not Play
Totals 39-7620-26363027104
 51.3%76.9% 
Other Games
Hou 83 Final
Atl 75
LAC 88 Final
Orl 110
Sea 82 Final
Bos 111
Phi 83 Final
Det 82
NY 91 Final
Mia 88
SA 75 Final
NO 100
Utah 114 Final
Mil 110
Char 93 Final
Dal 118
Mem 86 Final
Den 108
Tor 106 Final
GS 117