The New Jersey Nets' two leaders just needed some fourth-quarter
help on Sunday, and Travis Best finally gave it to them -- after
missing his first six shots.
Carter had 34 points and 11 rebounds and Kidd added 14 points
and 12 assists, including one on a backbreaking 3-pointer by Best
with 1:13 to play, as the Nets held off LeBron James and the
"It was the weirdest thing. I hadn't seen the triangle-and-two
since high school," said Carter, who hit 10 of 18 shots in
notching his 15th straight 20-point game. "It got us out of whack
a bit, but we kept fighting and stuck it out."
Down by 21 in the second quarter and 20 midway through the
third, the Cavaliers finally woke up and cut the Nets' lead to
eight points entering the final quarter.
New Jersey missed its first seven shots and former Net Lucious
Harris tied the game at 83 with a jumper with 8:38 to go.
Nenad Krstic, who had 15 points, sandwiched two free throws
around a jumper by Carter to give New Jersey an 87-83 lead.
Every time Cleveland got close Carter, who played the final 8:50
with five fouls, and Kidd came up big in sending the Cavaliers to
their sixth straight road loss.
A 3-pointer by Carter with 5:22 to go gave New Jersey a 90-85
advantage. A 5-footer by McInnis later cut the margin to 92-89, but
Kidd nailed a 3-pointer with 3:48 to go.
An tip-in by Ilgauskas pulled Cleveland within 95-93 with 2:06
However, Carter, who was 10-for-18 from the field, hit a
fadeaway jumper and Best made his only basket after being set up
once again by Kidd, who added four free throws and a big steal in
the final 45.9 seconds.
"We had a lot of open shots, but we just didn't make the shots
and let them get back in the game," said Kidd, who also had eight
rebounds. "You just have to keep finding the open guy and in this
case it was Travis. We kept giving him the ball and you have to
have confidence in your teammates to make the shots. He made one.
That's all it takes sometimes."
Best said it's easy to stop shooting after you've missed five or
six in a row.
"But then you look into the eyes of your teammates and they
give you the ball without hesitation," he said. "I didn't have
too much rhythm all game, but once Jay and Vince took control, I
knew I would get some open shots. The last one I took, I really
stepped into it and I felt it was going down."
James, who did not take a shot until late in the first quarter,
had 28 points, seven assists and five of the Cavaliers' 20
turnovers. He played 45 minutes despite battling a cold.
"You have to give them credit," said Ilgauskas, who has scored
at least 20 points in 11 of 14 games. "After we got close, they
didn't panic and made some shots."
The Cavaliers (31-23) are starting a tough stretch of games that
includes contests with San Antonio, Seattle, Philadelphia, Miami
"This is not the way we wanted to start," McInnis said after
Cleveland lost its second straight. "But this is one game. It's a
tough loss. When you fight back from 20 down you want to get the
win. We just have to keep playing."
New Jersey seemingly took control midway through the second
quarter, when Krstic hit two free throws to cap a 29-9 run that
gave the Nets a 46-25 lead.
The NBA is expected to announce approval of the sale of the
Cavaliers to Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert early this week.
Gilbert agreed to purchase the franchise for $375 million from
owner Gordon Gund, who is keeping a 10-percent share of the team.
... The Nets were 34-for-39 from the free throw line. Cleveland was
23-of-28. The Cavs were called for four technical fouls by the crew
of Sean Corbin, Ed Malloy and Blane Reichelt. Coach Paul Silas,
McInnis, Drew Gooden and Robert Traylor were whistled. Traylor's
came in the third quarter after he shoved Carter down to the court
after being hacked repeatedly. ... New Jersey has won seven
straight at home against Cleveland.