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Nets hold Blazers to 5 fourth-quarter points in win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets relied on their
defense to win one of their ugliest games of the season.

Vince Carter scored 26 points and the Nets held the Portland
Trail Blazers to a team record-low five points in the fourth
quarter of a 78-65 victory Wednesday night. The five points was the
second lowest in a fourth quarter since the 24-second shot clock
was instituted for the 1954-55 season.

Golden State scored two points in the fourth quarter of an 84-81
loss to the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 8, 2004.

"They aren't all masterpieces but we found a way to win," Nets
coach Lawrence Frank said. "It's nice that you can win and shoot
39 percent."

Richard Jefferson had 22 points and Nenad Krstic added 20 for
the Nets, who have won three straight.

Jason Kidd, who was battling a head cold, had six rebounds and
seven assists for the Nets but failed to score for the first time
in a regular-season game since March 22, 2000 as a member of the
Phoenix Suns. In the playoffs, Kidd went scoreless in the Nets'
Game 7 Eastern Conference playoff loss to the Detroit Pistons on
May 20, 2004.

"Good teams win the ugly games," Kidd said. "We didn't play
extremely well on the offensive end. Our defense did a wonderful
job. We are going in the right direction."

The 65 points equaled the third fewest allowed by the Nets and
marked the second dismal effort in two nights for Portland. The
Trail Blazers lost 95-66 at Chicago on Tuesday night.

Zach Randolph had 24 points for the Trail Blazers, who dropped
their eighth straight on the road. Reserve Darius Miles added 14
points and Steve Blake had 12 points and 10 assists.

Krstic scored the first four points of the fourth quarter and
Lamond Murray followed with a 3-pointer as the Nets took a 64-60
lead.

The Blazers' first point of the final quarter came 4:24 in when
Randolph made one of two free throws. Portland missed its first six
shots from the field as the Nets methodically built their lead.
Portland finished the final quarter 1-for-13 from the field and was
outscored 21-5.

"Defensively, they tightened up," Trail Blazers coach Nate
McMillan said. "We had a stretch of about 11 minutes where we
didn't score and we were careless with the ball."

Blake knew it was a tough final quarter but seemed stunned when
told his team scored only five.

"I didn't know it was that low," Blake said. "It's the result
of too many turnovers, not executing on offense and not making
shots. It's real frustrating."

Early in the third quarter, Carter hit a 3-pointer from the
right corner to give the Nets a 47-45 lead. The basket ignited an
11-2 New Jersey run as Krstic and Jefferson each chipped in four
points. The Nets could have broke open the game, but shot only
7-for-19 in the quarter.

Portland rallied to regain the lead as Miles scored on a layup
and a jumper in the final 1:44 of the period to give the Blazers a
60-57 lead.

Portland led 24-23 after one period as Martell Webster scored
nine points. Portland shot 10-of-17 from the field, a sharp
improvement over its 35 percent shooting in Tuesday's loss.
Portland did not score more than 19 points in any quarter in that
defeat.

Points were scarce for both teams in the second quarter as the
Nets outscored the Blazers 19-16 to take a 42-40 lead at the half.
New Jersey closed out the period on a 10-2 run, with Krstic scoring
five points.

Game notes
Theo Ratliff returned for Portland after missing one game
with a left ankle injury. ... Juan Dixon sat out a third straight
game for the Blazers with left knee tendinitis. ...The Nets
improved to 20-9 at home. ...The Nets have won four of the last
five from the Trail Blazers in New Jersey.