EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Richard Jefferson and the New
Jersey Nets finally struck the right balance to end a nine-game
"We've been close a couple of times," Jefferson said. "This
was the first time in a while that our defense and our offense were
equal. Guys hit shots and made stops."
The Nets could smile after a game for the first time since a
64-60 win over the Portland Trailblazers on Nov. 9.
"It was nice to get a win," Williams said. "It didn't matter
who we played. I just wanted to get that nasty taste out of my
It was Emeka Okafor and the Bobcats who needed a breath
"It was like when your mother cooked something that didn't
taste right," Okafor said. "One ingredient was missing. There was
one ingredient missing and I don't know what it was."
Okafor led Charlotte with 26 points and 12 rebounds, the
rookie's fifth consecutive double-double. Jason Hart added 15 for
the Bobcats, who dropped to 0-6 on the road.
The Nets led 50-46 at the half behind Jefferson's 14 points.
Okafor was the leading scorer in the half with 18 points on 9-of-15
The Nets extended the lead with a solid third quarter in which
they outscored the Bobcats 22-14. New Jersey opened a 12-point lead
when Travis Best stole the ball from Okafor for a give-and-go
breakaway with Jefferson. Best scored on the return feed with 3:10
remaining to give New Jersey a 66-54 advantage.
New Jersey opened the fourth quarter with 7-2 run for a 79-64
lead that put the game out of reach. Zoran Planinic was the
catalyst with five points in the spurt. The Nets led by as many as
17 in the fourth to end a four-game home losing streak.
"The coaches did a bad job, the players did a bad job,"
Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said.
"Collectively, we were just nonexistent tonight."
Nets coach Lawrence Frank said he will meet with Jason Kidd
on Thursday to discuss the point guard's progress in his comeback
from left knee surgery. Kidd could rejoin the team for practice as
soon as Friday. ... The Nets entered the game ranked last in the
NBA in scoring at 81.5 ppg and field-goal shooting at .401 while
leading the league in turnovers at 18.38. ...The 99 points were the
most the Nets have scored in regulation this season. ... Jefferson
scored 20-plus points for the 11th time this year.
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