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Jefferson, Kidd help Nets to third straight win

Nov 26, 2007 - 6:56 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant was nearly perfect in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to complete the Los Angeles Lakers' late comeback.

Richard Jefferson had 27 points and Jason Kidd added 15 points and 14 assists as the New Jersey Nets held on for a 102-100 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday.

"We weren't really looking ahead, but we understood that if we were able to get this win, opportunity was knocking for us to start improving," Jefferson said. "I think that's what we did today. Win or lose I think this was our best game on the road trip."

Trailing 101-98 with six seconds left, Bryant was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Kidd. The Lakers superstar made the first two foul shots to bring his total at the line to 15-of-15 for the game, before missing the third.

"It felt great - missed it by a millimeter," Bryant said. "It skimmed the rim, went in and came out."

After Bostjan Nachbar sank one of two free throws for New Jersey, Vladimir Radmanovic's 3-point attempt from the wing grazed the front rim at the buzzer.

The Nets, who had trailed by 12 points at the half, used a 21-4 run to bridge the end of the third and beginning of the fourth to take a 84-74 lead with 8:37 to play.

"It didn't take a genius to figure out we didn't have a lot of energy in the first half," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "The fact we were able to find it was great. I think our guys showed great grit."

The Lakers went on a 17-3 run - with 11 of the points coming from Bryant - capped by Sasha Vujacic's 3-pointer to take a 96-94 advantage with 1:32 remaining.

Jefferson scored the next three points on free throws to give New Jersey a one-point lead, and Nachbar made two free throws to give the Nets a 99-98 advantage with 28 seconds to play.

Bryant, who scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth, then missed a jumper from the right wing - for his first miss of the quarter - with 13 seconds left. Vince Carter made two more free throws to give the Nets a three-point bulge with six ticks later.

Bryant was 3-of-16 in the first three quarters before going 4-of-5 from the field in the fourth for his fifth 30-point game of the season.

"The start of the fourth quarter we didn't execute properly, they jumped out to huge lead on us and it was an uphill battle from that point forward," Bryant said. "They made some adjustments, we had to counter that and we did so late in the ball game but we just didn't do it enough in time to stop the bleeding."

Carter finished with 19 points for the Nets, who have won three straight games after a six-game losing streak - five of which came while Carter was nursing a sprained right ankle.

"It was tough sitting on the bench, watching," Carter said. "I wanted to be out there. I had to be patient and everybody is playing well."

The Lakers built a 16-9 lead in the first seven minutes of the game and never trailed during the first half en route to a 49-37 advantage at the break. Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher combined to go 9-of-9 in the first half, scoring 21 points.

Fisher finished with a season-high 20 points and Odom had 16 for the Lakers, who have lost three in a row after winning four straight.

"It was a disappointment, but obviously we knew it was going to be a tough game," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "It looked like we lost some energy in that third quarter. They took advantage of it. But we rallied at the finish and gave ourselves a chance."

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