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No Kidding: Nets top Knicks without star point guard

NEW YORK (AP) -- Larry Brown made it clear that the New York Knicks still have a lot of work to do before they open the regular
season.

"If today's an indication if we're ready for opening night, I'd
say we're far from it," the first-year Knicks coach said Friday
night after New York wrapped up the exhibition season with a 91-86
loss to the New Jersey Nets.

"I was disappointed. We fouled too much and we turned the ball
over 28 times. ... We have to handle the press better. We have to a
better job in taking postups away. We have to guard pick-and-rolls
better. Those are things that are really obvious."

The Knicks (3-4) will open the regular season Wednesday night in
Boston.

Richard Jefferson led the Nets (5-3) with 19 points, Nenad
Krstic had 16, Vince Carter 15 and Marc Jackson 14. New Jersey
played without point guard Jason Kidd (left quadriceps) and
forward-center Jason Collins (right knee). Both are expected to
play Wednesday night in New Jersey's regular-season opener at home
against Milwaukee.

"We've been a little bit up and down through the preseason, so
it's good to end on a positive note," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "At the same time, you don't want to overlook the things you
need to work on."

Rookie guard Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 14 points, and
Jamal Crawford had 13. The 5-foot-9 Robinson was 4-for-7 from the
field, made all five of his free throws and had four assists, three
rebounds and two steals in about 20 minutes of action.

"We have a lot of young guys who are playing well," Brown
said. "To be honest, the young kids seem to get us back into
games. That's encouraging to me."

Jefferson had 10 points in the first half and Carter added eight
to help the Nets take a 46-36 lead at the break. The two teamed on
a perfectly executed alley-oop play in the first quarter, with
Jefferson finishing with a two-handed dunk. Jefferson also had a
tomahawk slam on a baseline drive in the opening period.

"The preseason served its purpose," Jefferson said. "I know
guys like to complain about the preseason games, but they would
really complain if we didn't have them."

New York's Stephon Marbury had seven points on 1-of-8 shooting.

"When you're trying to figure out a new system, it's always
going to be confusing," Marbury said. "It's eventually going to
come together."

Game notes
New York swingman Quentin Richardson (strained left
hamstring) was not in uniform. He hopes to return for the opener in
Boston. ... New Jersey won the season series with New York 3-1 in
2004-05, winning the last three. The Nets are 15-3 in their last 18
regular-season games with the Knicks.