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Carter's 34 leads Nets past Nuggets in overtime

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets gave the kind
of effort it will take to turn around their season.

Vince Carter scored 34 points and Richard Jefferson added 21,
including five in overtime, as the Nets beat the Denver Nuggets
115-106 Friday night.

"Our effort and work ethic has been questioned a lot of late,
but it wasn't a question here," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.
"By no means is this a defining moment. Any time you're
struggling, you need a win. One win doesn't totally erase the
troubles we've had, but hopefully, it will be a reference point to
build on."

Jason Kidd added 15 points and 16 assists for the Nets, and
forced overtime with a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left.

The Nets snapped a three-game losing streak and a four-game home
skid. The loss was the third in four games for the Nuggets, who
played their fifth straight road game.

"It's going to take a lot more than just one game, one win to
get us going," Jefferson said. "Everything is not solved with
just one win."

Jefferson scored the first three points of the extra session on
a drive and free throw, giving the Nets the lead for good. He added
two more points on another power drive, pushing the lead to 102-96.

The Nets then put away the game behind reserve Scott Padgett and
Kidd. Padgett scored all of his 15 points on 3-pointers after
halftime, and Nenad Krstic added 17 points and 11 rebounds for New
Jersey. Carter also had 12 rebounds.

"I thought in the fourth quarter, we played great and should
have had enough to win," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Jason
makes that big 3 and Padgett gave them a big lift with his 3s. They
made their shots when they had to."

Andre Miller led the Nuggets with 22 points and 13 assists.
Carmelo Anthony, who was held scoreless in the first half and was
just 2-of-17 from the floor at one point, scored 20 points,
including a stretch of nine straight over a 2:16 stretch of the
fourth quarter that seemed to give the Nuggets the victory.

The Nets held a 87-83 lead with 3:44 left before Anthony took
over.

He had two dunks and added three free throws, giving the Nuggets
a 92-87 lead with 1:25 left.

"Collectively, our guys did a very good job defending Carmelo
Anthony," Frank said. "But he did a good job of getting shots in
that stretch. At that point, we could have easily hung our heads
and said, 'Here we go again,' but the composure of our guys
showed."

Padgett made his fourth 3-pointer of the final quarter to cut
the lead to 92-90, but Jefferson missed the second of two free
throws with 25 seconds left and a chance to tie.

After Kidd's 3-pointer tied it for the 10th and final time at
94, the Nuggets thought they had won it, but Eduardo Najera's slam
came after the buzzer sounded.

"Maybe we got a little tired in overtime," Anthony said. "We
had a big game last night (a 94-85 loss at Cleveland) and we put a
lot of energy into that one. We were in great position to win this
one, but we let it get away."

Earl Watson scored 18 points and fellow reserve DerMarr Johnson
had 16 points for the Nuggets. Former Nets player Kenyon Martin had
16 points and nine rebounds.

Carter made two straight 3-pointers to give the Nets a 22-4 lead
with 6:42 remaining in the first quarter. Denver chipped away
before using an 18-4 run to start the second quarter, with Johnson
scoring eight and Watson scoring six, to take a 37-34 lead with
6:41 left before halftime.

Martin's long jumper gave the Nuggets a 48-47 halftime lead.
Anthony, who entered averaging a team-high 22.9 points, was 0-for-8
in a scoreless first half.

Game notes
Before the game, Martin visited Nets coach Lawrence Frank,
then went into the Nets' locker room to greet some of his former
teammates. When asked by reporters about the Nets' struggles at the
power forward position, Martin replied, "They had one. That's the
bed they made and they have to lie in it. Strange things happen in
sports, like the Red Sox getting rid of Babe Ruth." ... The
Nuggets played without starting center Marcus Camby (sprained pinky
on right hand) and backup point guard Earl Boykins (strained
hamstring).