CLEVELAND (AP) -- Something about traveling to Cleveland brings
out the worst in the New Jersey Nets.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 29 points to help the Cavaliers
overcome an early 13-point deficit and defeat the Nets 93-88 Sunday
Cleveland snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just
the third time in 19 games -- with two of those victories coming at
home against New Jersey.
The Nets' lead over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division was
cut to a half-game.
"We are just making it hard on ourselves,'' Jason Kidd said.
"We didn't shoot well in the second half and didn't get stops,
Ilgauskas, who had been criticized by Nets forward Kenyon Martin
after being selected to the All-Star team, shot 13-for-21.
"I forgot about that stuff,'' Ilgauskas said of Martin's
comments. "We were down early, but kept battling. My 15 points in
the first quarter kept us in the game.''
Kidd scored 21 points to lead the Nets, but committed a key
turnover and missed a free throw in the final 16 seconds.
The Nets shot 32 percent in the second half and lost for the
10th time in 15 games.
Cleveland led 85-80, but failed to score for 4:44 as the Nets
tied the score. Ricky Davis snapped the drought with a 14-foot
jumper to put the Cavaliers ahead to stay, 87-85 with 1:46
"Ricky didn't play well tonight, yet he made a huge shot when
we needed a bucket,'' Cavs coach Keith Smart said.
Davis entered the game averaging 20.3 points, but scored just
four on 2-for-6 shooting.
Ilgauskas made it 89-85 on a drive 40 seconds later before Kidd
hit two free throws.
Davis tossed an airball from 15 feet as the shot clock was about
to expire, but Kidd gave the ball right back by dribbling it off
his foot and out of bounds with 15.6 seconds to play.
Two free throws by Smush Parker, who finished with 15 points,
extended Cleveland's lead to 91-87 with 13 seconds left.
Kidd made the first of two free throws with 8.7 seconds left and
when the rebound was fumbled away by Cleveland, got the ball and
forced a 3-pointer from the corner that missed.
Jumaine Jones hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to close
"This is a tough one to swallow right here,'' said Nets guard
Lucious Harris, who scored 10 points. "It is frustrating to lose
games we are supposed to win. We are like a roller coaster, up high
and at times at our lowest.''
The Cavs improved to 2-48 in games in which they trailed by 10
or more points. Cleveland, with a league-worst record of 13-56,
needs three wins in the final 13 games to avoid tying the
franchise's worst mark of 15-67 set in their inaugural season of
1970-71 and matched in 1981-82.
"These last games are our playoff season,'' Parker said. "A
lot of teams we face right now need to win to keep their spot in
"We came out with the intent of not rolling over for these
The Nets used an 11-0 run to take an 11-2 lead and led by as
many as 13 points at 34-21. Kenyon Martin scored 13 points and Kidd
12 before the break. Martin finished with 18 points.
Cleveland countered with a 12-2 spurt to tie it before Kidd hit
two free throws to give New Jersey a 53-51 lead at halftime.
Jim Tressel, coach of Ohio State's national champion
football team, was honored at halftime. Tressel was a ballboy for
the Cavaliers in their inaugural season. ... Ilgauskas has had
consecutive 29-point games against the Nets. He also scored 29 in a
93-90 home win over New Jersey on Feb. 25. ... The Nets scored 29
points off 25 Cleveland turnovers.