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Second-half surge lifts Nets past Timberwolves

Feb 13, 2008 - 5:30 AM By Carl Dispoto PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Bostjan Nachbar helped the New Jersey Nets offense thaw while the Minnesota Timberwolves stayed ice cold.

Nachbar scored 10 of his 14 points in a key third quarter and Vince Carter and Jason Kidd each flirted with triple-doubles as the Nets extended their winning streak to three games with a 92-88 victory over the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

In a game played in front of about half of the announced attendance of 14,975 due to a snowstorm, the teams combined for just 73 points on 35 percent (28-of-79) shooting in an ugly first half. But the Nets snapped out of it after Nachbar checked into the game for the first time midway through the third quarter.

"When I came in, I came in with a lot of fire because I wanted to make up for the lost time I had in the first half," Nachbar said. "I wanted to help with my aggressiveness because we were really struggling."

Kidd fed Josh Boone and Sean Williams for baskets on back-to-back possessions late in the third before coming up with a loose ball on the offensive end throwing a dart pass to Nachbar, who drove from the left corner for layup as he was fouled. He sank the ensuing free throw and - after a 3-pointer by Minnesota's Randy Foye - received a no-look alley-oop pass from Kidd on the next trip down the floor.

"He got to the basket and just took advantage of the plays," said Carter, who was four rebounds shy of a triple-double. "He does a great job of getting himself open to get open shots and he did a great job of playing off each play that was happening."

Nachbar completed the dunk over Marko Jaric and was fouled, burying the free throw to give New Jersey a 56-51 lead with 3:19 left. Kidd and Antoine Wright followed with back-to-back baskets and the Nets went into the fourth quarter with a 66-56 cushion.

The Timberwolves shot just 30 percent (18-of-60) in the first three quarters but made 10 of their first 18 attempts in the fourth to pull within 82-78 on a three-point play by Telfair with 2:25 to go. But Kidd answered with a 3-pointer 21 seconds later and Nachbar buried a jumper with just over a minute to go to seal the win.

Richard Jefferson added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who secured their second-longest winning streak of the season after losing 12 of their previous 14 games.

Carter had 17 points and 10 assists and Kidd collected nine points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, falling just shy of joining Wilt Chamberlain and Magic Johnson as the only players to reach 100 career triple-doubles.

Sebastian Telfair scored 24 points to lead Minnesota and Al Jefferson had 16 points and 11 rebounds but made just 5-of-18 shots after scoring a career-high 40 in a win over the Nets at home on December 30.

Minnesota has lost four in a row overall and fell to 2-23 on the road this season. The Timberwolves have lost 19 of their last 20 road games.

"It was just one of those nights where we didn't make shots," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "The fourth quarter was better, but we have to get back to making just the simple plays. We're trying to do too much."

Boone grabbed 11 rebounds and Nenad Krstic had eight as New Jersey overcame 42 percent (35-of-83) shooting with 54 rebounds, including 16 on the offensive end. The Timberwolves shot just 37 percent (31-of-85) overall, avoiding the worst performance of the season by making 13-of-25 shots in the fourth.

Jefferson sparked the Timberwolves in the fourth, making 3-of-8 shots and grabbing three rebounds. But he was terrible through the first three quarter, missing eight of his first 10 attempts from the floor.

"Al got 18 shots, they doubled him though, much quicker," Wittman said. "And when you don't make shots it compounds that but we stayed with it and got him the ball in different areas. We just had one of those nights from the field that you don't want to have."

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