Nets
Pelicans
112 - 108 Final
  for this game

Jefferson returns to form as Nets top sliding Hornets

Mar 14, 2007 - 5:07 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Richard Jefferson has returned just in time for the New Jersey Nets.

Jefferson had his best game since returning from injury, scoring 26 points, and Vince Carter nailed two huge free throws down the stretch as the Nets stayed in the playoff chase with a 112-108 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, who suffered their sixth straight loss.

Jason Kidd had 18 points and 12 assists for New Jersey (30-35), which now is in a three-way tie with Indiana (29-34) and New York (29-34) for the final three playoffs spots in the Eastern Conference.

"We raised our game to a level that we needed to tonight to get a win," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We like to try and keep our games in the high 80's, but it is nice to win a game when we give up over 100."

A member of the Nets' star trio - along with Kidd and Carter - Jefferson has been injury-prone over the past few seasons. This campaign, he sat out 26 games and underwent ankle surgery, leaving the Nets without a reliable scorer and an athletic defender.

After looking rusty in his first three games back, Jefferson was 9-of-12 from the field and played with much more energy against the Hornets.

"Richard played a great game for us tonight, anytime we can get 26 out of him we have a very good chance of winning the game," Frank said. "He has really poured a lot of himself into the team mentality and helping us win ball games. Richard has come back and given us a lift."

Jefferson said he is still working himself into shape.

"I feel pretty good, my legs feel a little tired and it is a lot like training camp right now for me," Jefferson said. "To go from not playing at all to playing hard every night is tough but I feel good, plus the fact we could close out the road trip with a pair of wins makes it that much nicer. I am not quite there yet but I am close to being 100 percent."

But the game still hung in the balance in the final seconds. With the contest tied, Carter made a strong drive and drew a foul with 22 seconds left. His two foul shots gave New Jersey a 108-106 advantage.

On the ensuing possession, Hornets star guard Chris Paul lost control of his dribble. His backcourt mate Devin Brown and Jefferson then dove after it and a jump ball was called.

Brown won the tap but knocked it directly into the hands of New Jersey forward Mikki Moore, who was fouled and made one of two shots to make it 109-106 with six seconds remaining. Brown then was fouled purposely with five seconds left, so he could not get a 3-pointer off and missed both of his subsequent foul shots.

"Twin (Jason Collins) made a great switch on defense, and I think that Paul got a little excited when he had a big on him, and he tried to do too much with it," Jefferson said. "I saw the ball on the floor. I just wanted to get it as quick as possible. Twin made a great play, and it saved the game for us."

Paul had 25 points and 12 assists for the Hornets, who shot 46 percent (40-of-86).

As a result of their poor play, the Hornets now are 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot.

"We are at the point where we have to play almost perfect," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We have to approach the games that way. We have to do a better job of doing the things we can do and not worry about the things we can't control. We are just not getting enough from enough people, especially our bench. If we can get five or six guys playing well at the same time we will be OK."








  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA NEW JERSEY 112
    NEW ORLEANS 108 FINAL

    Mar 13 10:41 PM
  • 76
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    RUWTbot Added 50 roots

    Nets vs. PelicansMar 13 10:28 PM
  • 26
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    RUWTbot Added 26 roots

    Nets vs. PelicansMar 13 10:18 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA NEW JERSEY 82
    NEW ORLEANS 78 END, 3RD QTR

    Mar 13 9:50 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA NEW JERSEY 52
    NEW ORLEANS 51 HALFTIME

    Mar 13 9:07 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA NEW JERSEY 29
    NEW ORLEANS 25 END, 1ST QTR

    Mar 13 8:34 PM