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Nachbar hits seven 3-pointers as Nets roll past Hawks

Apr 5, 2007 - 3:38 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Bostjan Nachbar decided to assist All-Star teammate Vince Carter with some of the scoring load.

Nachbar scored 26 points off the bench and Carter chipped in 24 as the New Jersey Nets coasted to a 101-86 victory over the reeling Atlanta Hawks, who have lost seven straight.

At 6-9 from Slovenia, Nachbar has been a pleasant surprise for coach Lawrence Frank this season. In his season year with the Nets, Nachbar is averaging career highs in points and rebounds.

On Wednesday, Nachbar connected on 9-of-14 shots, including a career-high seven 3-pointers en route to his seventh game with at least 20 points.

"I just had a lot of open shots," Nachbar said. "I don't think they did a good job on covering the high pick-and-roll, which left the weak side open. I was feeling it a little bit, but the guys did a great job of getting the ball to me on the weak side."

New Jersey (35-39) now has a 1 1/2-game lead over eighth-place Orlando (34-41) in the Eastern Conference standings with eight contests left. The Nets have made the postseason the past six seasons.

"Every team that we play from here on out is either in the playoffs or is fighting to get in the playoffs," Frank said. "All we can be concerned about is our own play."

"We're a veteran ballclub," Nets guard Jason Kidd said. "We know what's at stake. It's April, and we can't take anyone lightly."

Behind Zaza Pachulia's seven points, Atlanta used an impressive 13-0 surge in the second quarter to grab a 37-32 advantage with 4:52 remaining.

However, the Nets countered with a run of their own as Nachbar, Carter and Mikki Moore combined for a commanding 20-2 burst to close the period and hold a 52-39 edge at intermission.

"We ended that second quarter by going smaller and were able to spread the floor," Frank said. "Our guys were unselfish and moved the ball."

In third quarter, Nachbar drained back-to-back 3-pointers with just over one minute left as New Jersey pushed its lead to 74-56 and never looked back.

"I was just trying to find the open man," said Carter, who handed out six of his eight assists in the third. "(Nachbar) opened up the floor for us."

Hawks coach Mike Woodson blamed his club's poor outing on key injuries.

"We are missing so many players; Joe Johnson, Speedy (Claxton), Josh (Childress)," Woodson said. "We have 33 points back in Atlanta. Guys are playing that normally wouldn't be playing this many minutes."

Salim Stoudamire netted 19 points off the bench and Pachulia chipped 18 in for Atlanta, which shot 40 percent (33-of-81) from the floor.

"We just didn't compete," Woodson said. "They set the tone from the very beginning and were able to coast to a win."

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