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Jefferson scores 28 for N.J.

3/31/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets can win without Jason Kidd
and Kenyon Martin -- if their opponent is weak enough.

With Kidd still sidelined and Martin unable to play more than a
few ineffective minutes, the Nets fumbled and scraped and somehow
broke a three-game losing streak with Wednesday night's 103-99
overtime victory over the Washington Wizards.

Richard Jefferson, trying to hold down the fort while his
teammates recover, led the Nets with 28 points and a season-high 14
rebounds. He also tied his career high with seven turnovers.

"I didn't do a good job today," said Jefferson, who is
averaging 26 points in seven games since Kidd and Martin were
injured. "I had some careless passes. ... We are learning how to
play with this unit."

Lucious Harris added a season-high 24 points, and Kerry Kittles
scored 18 and helped forced overtime with a 3-pointer and a blocked
shot in the final minute of regulation.

The Nets overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to provide
an exciting finish to a game that included 46 turnovers and was
missing major star-power.

Martin returned after missing six games with a sore left knee,
but he played just 12 minutes and committed four turnovers as a
reserve in the first half.

"It just didn't feel right out there, once we started going up
and down," said Martin, who ruled himself out for Friday's game
against New York. "The pain came back. That is what I wanted to
see, just to give it a go."

The Nets are 2-5 -- beating only Chicago and Washington -- since
Kidd bruised his knee and Martin succumbed to tendinitis. They
committed 21 turnovers in the first three quarters Wednesday,
although they had just three in the fourth quarter and overtime.

"Our guys showed a great amount of character and resiliency
when things weren't going well," coach Lawrence Frank said.

Washington's Jerry Stackhouse started for the first time since
March 13, but he was gone in the first quarter after picking up two
technical fouls, leaving the Wizards with just Gilbert Arenas and
Larry Hughes as the only scoring threats. The pair took 47 of their
team's 85 shots.

Arenas finished with 29 points and seven turnovers. Hughes had
22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. The Wizards have lost four
straight, six of seven and are 1-20 against Atlantic Division
teams.

Washington had just one assist in the second half and made no
field goals and just three free throws in the final four minutes of
regulation.

"We just aren't G-O-O-D enough," coach Eddie Jordan said. "We
have a lot of heart to play hard, we're just not talented enough to
win the game. We're short-handed. Gilbert has his touches, Larry
gets his touches, and that's where we have to go. Nobody else can
score for us. Nobody else can make a play for us, so that's where
we are talent-wise."

Kittles tied the game at 93 with a 3-pointer from the right
baseline with 39 seconds remaining, then blocked Mitchell Butler's
3-point attempt to set up overtime.

In the extra period, the Nets took their first lead since the
first quarter and moved ahead by four on Jefferson's runner in the
paint with 26 seconds remaining.

The Wizards started their big three -- Stackhouse, Arenas and
Larry Hughes -- for just the fourth time this season, but Stackhouse
got his first technical for his reaction to his third personal
foul, then was tossed for saying something from the bench shortly
afterward.

Stackhouse had been coming off the bench in recent games to ease
the wear on his injured knee, but he started Wednesday because
Kwame Brown was out with a sprained left ankle.

Game notes
New Jersey played their first overtime game of the season.
... The Nets swept the season series, 4-0, for the second time in
four years. ... The Wizards activated forward Lonny Baxter from the
injured list and placed forward Christian Laettner on the injured
list with back spasms. Baxter had been sidelined since March 21
with right knee tendinitis. ... Wizards guard Juan Dixon missed his
second consecutive game with a sprained ankle. ... Jazz great
Herbie Hancock performed at halftime and afterward received the
Jazz Masters Fellowship Award from the National Endowment of the
Arts.