MILWAUKEE (AP) -- For the first time in seven years, the New Jersey Nets are just playing out their schedule without playoff games to look forward to.
Instead of cruising toward the offseason, they responded by playing hard, making the extra pass and having no trouble beating the Milwaukee Bucks.
Richard Jefferson scored 24 points and Vince Carter added 21 as the Nets beat Milwaukee 111-98 on Saturday night, spoiling Bucks general manager John Hammond's first game watching his new team play.
"It was a long time," Carter said of playing a game with no playoff implications. "It was just great to see everybody suck it up and come to play."
The Nets had 34 assists and 14 turnovers, with three of their leading scorers spending the game making plenty of passes. Carter had 10 assists, Devin Harris had nine and Jefferson had seven.
"You don't ever see that in the NBA," Jefferson said of a team's top scorers passing frequently. "Guys were moving the ball and guys were hitting shots. Whenever you get that, you are going to get a good rhythm offensively."
New Jersey was eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race with a loss Friday night against the Toronto Raptors. It is the first time since 2001 that the Nets will not make the playoffs.
Bostjan Nachbar scored all 15 of his points in the second half for New Jersey, which won for only the second time in eight games.
Jefferson, Nachbar and Harris each scored four points in a 12-0 fourth-quarter run to give the Nets a 106-87 lead and put the game away.
"We were better defensively," Harris said. "We were more active. We had guys posting up, guys getting hands on balls, taking chances and making things happen. It was a good defensive effort."
Milwaukee has lost six straight and played a lackadaisical game despite having its new GM at the game. Hammond, who spent the past seven years as Detroit's vice president of basketball operations, was named general manager Friday and introduced during a news conference Saturday.
Michael Redd, the Bucks' leading scorer, took only seven shots and finished with 12 points in 29 minutes.
"It didn't seem like he had the usual energy level," Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said of Redd.
The Bucks had scored eight consecutive points earlier in the quarter to get within single digits, 91-83, but could get no closer.
New Jersey took control with a 16-4 run midway through the third quarter. Carter opened the run with a dunk and capped it with another dunk -- this one running at full speed -- to give the Nets an 82-68 lead with 2:12 left in the quarter.
"It's kind of been the same thing that's been happening all season," said Desmond Mason, who led Milwaukee with 18 points. "Not being able to finish basketball games. We play for three quarters and then just have a let down."
Jefferson scored 16 points and Carter had 14 in the first half as New Jersey led 54-53 at halftime.
Milwaukee took its biggest lead, 36-26, on Mason's layup with 8:57 left in the second quarter. The Nets, though, went on a 24-13 run to take the lead for good at 50-49 on Carter's dunk with 2:03 to go in the quarter.
New Jersey won all four games between the teams this season. It was the Nets' first season sweep of the Bucks since the 1997-98 season. ... Hammond was introduced during a news conference before the game. "We have work to do, but we think this is a great opportunity that we can get better, we can improve," he said. ... Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva did not dress due to a strained muscle in his right calf. ... Milwaukee needs to win its final two games to match its 28 wins of a season ago.