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Nets beat Grizzlies, run win streak to 10 games

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Richard Jefferson had a message
that should provide some comfort for the New Jersey Nets' remaining
opponents this season.

"We will lose a game," the Nets forward conceded Wednesday
night. "Things can change in one quarter, or in five minutes."

Jefferson scored 27 points to help the Nets beat the weary
Memphis Grizzlies 86-74 and tie a season high with their 10th
straight win.

Vince Carter added 23 points for New Jersey (42-28), which also
won 10 games in a row from Dec. 16-Jan. 8. The last NBA team to
have two 10-game winning streaks in the same season was Miami last
season.

Since losing at Chicago on March 7, the Nets have won seven of
the 10 games by double digits, and their victims have included
Detroit, Phoenix and Dallas -- teams with three of the NBA's five
best records.

The earlier streak began with the Nets struggling at 9-12 and
was followed by three straight losses. This one is different,
according to Jefferson.

"We were really terrible before that," he said, "and it
showed us that, 'Hey, we are capable of playing after all.' This
one has showed us that we've got everything going again and we're
back in the groove."

Much like in their 110-72 rout of Phoenix on Monday, the Nets
jumped on the Grizzlies early, racing to a 20-point second-quarter
lead and leading by as many as 23 in the third quarter.

Despite playing a game the night before in Memphis, the
Grizzlies managed to muster enough energy for a fourth-quarter
rally, but they could not get closer than 10 points.

Pau Gasol led Memphis (41-31) with 21 points but was the only
starter in double figures. The Grizzlies, who were held to their
third-lowest point total of the season, had won six of their last
seven games.

Gasol, who scored a franchise-record 44 points the night before
in a last-second loss to Seattle, scored 10 first-quarter points.
But by the time he made his first field goal of the second quarter,
with 1:09 left, the Nets led by 18.

"We weren't ready," Gasol said. "We didn't come out ready to
compete at their level. It was frustrating because we weren't
clicking from the start. I don't know if it was so much what they
were doing, it was more about us. We had a lot of open looks. We
couldn't knock down the shots we normally do."

While the Nets have little chance of catching Miami (48-23) for
the second spot in the Eastern Conference behind Detroit, they are
peaking at the time of the season when momentum is a precious
commodity.

"It's at the right time of the year," guard Jason Kidd said.
"The big thing is the quality of the teams. Everybody's playing
for something, jockeying for position, and we've made a stand.
Hopefully we can keep getting better and not get satisfied."

Game notes
New Jersey has won 20 of its last 23 home games ... After
allowing more than 100 points in four consecutive games from Feb.
27-March 4, the Nets have given up fewer than 90 points in nine of
their last 11 games. Through the first half Wednesday, they had
held opponents under 20 points in nine of their last 14 quarters
... The game matched Nets coach Lawrence Frank and Grizzlies coach
Mike Fratello, who grew up in adjacent towns about 10 miles from
Continental Airlines Arena in northern New Jersey, Frank in Teaneck
and Fratello in Hackensack ... Memphis C Jake Tsakalidis missed his
fifth straight game with a sprained left thumb ... Former O.J.
Simpson defense lawyer Barry Scheck took in the game from
courtside.