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Jefferson's 24 points lead Nets past Bucks

Apr 13, 2008 - 4:02 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Perhaps if the New Jersey Nets had played the Milwaukee Bucks a few more times this season, Richard Jefferson and his teammates would not be headed for the NBA lottery in the offseason.

Jefferson scored 24 points and Vince Carter added 21 and 10 assists as the Nets beat the shorthanded Bucks, 111-98, Saturday at the Bradley Center.

The win completed the Nets' four-game season sweep of the Bucks, their first since the 1997-98 season.

"We played hard tonight," Jefferson said. "We had guys step up with big contributions off the bench. Guys were moving the ball and guys were getting open shots."

Bostjan Nachbar added 15 points for New Jersey, which won for just the second time in eight games and snapped a four-game road losing streak.

Desmond Mason scored 18 points for the Bucks, who fell to 3-15 against Atlantic Division teams.

"More than anything, we're continually disappointed with losing basketball games," Mason said. "We just have to stay professional and continue to play hard and finish the season on the right note."

New Jersey led, 54-53, at halftime before going on a 28-15 run to start the second half that gave the Nets their biggest lead of the game, 82-68, with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter.

Forward Nenad Krstic began the run with a five-foot hook shot, and Carter capped it with an emphatic dunk. It was the seventh dunk or layup during the run.

"We came out to play," Carter said. "I think we had one of our best defensive showings tonight, and our best offensive showing as far as sharing the ball. It was good to see everyone contribute."

Nachbar scored eight points off the bench in the third, and Carter added seven - all during the game-changing spurt.

The Bucks rallied in the fourth and pulled within 94-87 on Awvee Storey's three-point play with 6:08 remaining, but that was as close as Milwaukee would get as the Nets then went on a 12-0 run.

"We had that little stretch in the fourth quarter where they came back, but we started (the second half) nice," said Nets point guard Devin Harris, who had 13 points and nine assists. "It was a great win for us. We're trying to make the most of our situation.

"Obviously, we know we're eliminated from the playoffs, but we came out here to try to be competitive."

Bobby Simmons added 15 points for the Bucks, losers of six straight and 19 of their last 23.

They were without three players who started regularly this season - Mo Williams, Charlie Villanueva and Yi Jianlian - as well as sixth man Charlie Bell and reserve Michael Ruffin because of various injuries.

"We didn't have a whole lot of bodies tonight or last night," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We both played back-to-backs, so that wasn't really an issue, but I thought we ran out of steam a little bit."

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