Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/30

Game 1: Tuesday, November 30th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 21st
Game 3: Friday, February 25th
Game 4: Monday, March 28th

Bobcats 86

(11-41, 2-24 away)

Nets 93

(24-32, 15-12 home)

    7:30 PM ET, February 25, 2005

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 17 25 20 2486
    NJ 29 26 12 2693

    Top Performers

    Charlotte: G. Wallace 23 Pts, 1 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    New Jersey: N. Krstic 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Blk

    Krstic scores 25 points in 28 minutes; VC has 28 points

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- If rookie Nenad Krstic keeps playing the way he did against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night, the New Jersey Nets might still make a playoff run.

    Krstic returned to the lineup after missing two game with a viral infection and scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Nets to a 93-86 victory that snapped a two-game post All-Star break losing streak.

    "We definitely missed his big body and what he brings," said Jason Kidd, who wasn't happy with the way New Jersey returned from the break. "He is a very smart player and maybe he just needed a week and a half off. Unfortunately, we don't have any weeks and a half to give. We need him from here on out."

    While weak at times during the game, Krstic was impressive going against the Bobcats' big front line of Emeka Okafor, Primoz Brezec and Melvin Ely. The 7-footer from Serbia-Montenegro shot 9-of-12 from the field and also had five rebounds before fouling out with 1:16 to play. His previous high was 18 points.

    "It was like in Europe, I had a seven-day rest before playing a game," Krstic said, referring to the rest from the All-Star break and his illness. "I didn't feel 100 percent."

    Krstic said he was tired before the game and needed rest in the third quarter when he started coughing.

    "He was phenomenal tonight," said Vince Carter, who led New Jersey with 28 points. "It's a miracle what rest can do for you. He played great on both ends."

    Kidd finished with 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the Nets beat the expansion Bobcats for the third time this season. Wins over Charlotte have ended New Jersey's losing streaks of nine, three and now two games.

    Gerald Wallace had 23 points to lead the Bobcats, who made the Nets sweat this one out, cutting a 13-point halftime deficit to 67-66 early in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Jason Kapono.

    "It's a frustrating game when you work it down to one and then you can't get a couple of shots and then it goes away again," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We kept digging out of a hole and they kept putting us in a hole."

    With Kidd sitting on the bench for a rest, Krstic and Carter then combined on a 9-0 run. Carter hit two free throws to get the spurt started and Krstic scored the next seven points, capping the run by taking a pass from Carter and dunking for a 76-66 lead with 9:07 to play.

    "The first couple of games we played he had good games, so he didn't surprise us," Wallace said of Krstic.

    Brezec added 14 points and Okafor had six points on 3-for-10 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds.

    The Nets again had third-quarter problems, which is what hurt them in recent losses to Toronto and Milwaukee. The Bobcats outscored New Jersey 20-12 in the quarter and closed a 13-point deficit to 67-62.

    The Nets were ahead 42-29 when Krstic went to the bench with 6:24 to go in the first half.

    The Bobcats scored the next 10 points, drawing within 42-39 on a fast-break dunk by Wallace.

    After a New Jersey called time-out, Krstic was put back in the lineup and the Nets closed the quarter with a 13-3 spurt to take a 55-42 lead. Carter scored the first five points and Krstic and Kidd had four apiece.

    Game notes

    Nets F Jason Collins had a game-high 12 rebounds. ... Kareem Rush (11) and Brevin Knight (10) also scored in double figures for Charlotte. ... Charlotte is still waiting for F Malik Allen to report. He was acquired from Miami on Thursday. ... Carter spent time on the bench in the third quarter icing a sore calf muscle. ... Nets F Cliff Robinson attempted his 16,000 field goal with his first shot.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 93
    FGM-FGA 31-74 (.419) 35-80 (.438)
    3PM-3PA 4-8 (.500) 3-7 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 20-27 (.741) 20-21 (.952)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-35 10-40
    Assists 21 22
    Turnovers 18 20
    Steals 11 8
    Blocks 6 6
    Fast Break Points 9 18
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 15

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Gerald Wallace Wallace
    Points: 23
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2
    Nenad Krstic Krstic
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1