Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/19

Game 1: Saturday, November 19th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 13th
Game 3: Tuesday, March 21st

Nets 112

(38-28, 16-19 away)

Wizards 100

(34-32, 24-13 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 21, 2006

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 27 20 24 41112
    WSH 22 23 25 30100

    Top Performers

    NJ: V. Carter 28 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

    WSH: C. Butler 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Nets outscore Wizards 41-30 in fourth quarter

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- As much as the New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards count on their outstanding trios, it helps to have scoring from elsewhere, too.

    The Nets got more of a boost from role players Tuesday night and that, coupled with Richard Jefferson's 21-point second half, allowed New Jersey to break open a tight game late, beating Washington 112-100 for its sixth consecutive victory.

    "Our bench -- hey, look, in six straight games they've been very, very good," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "The contributions those guys are making on both ends has obviously been very, very big."

    Jefferson finished with 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting, including 4-for-4 in the fourth quarter when New Jersey made 12 of its 16 field-goal attempts and outscored Washington 41-30. That's the most points the Nets have scored -- and the Wizards have allowed -- in a quarter this season.

    "We got a little bit disjointed, a little bit distracted," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.

    When New Jersey got some separation at the start of the fourth quarter, going up 92-81 with 6½ minutes left, it was with significant contributions from reserves. Lamond Murray made two 3-pointers early in the period, while 39-year-old Clifford Robinson had four points and two assists during an 11-4 run.

    "The ball was moving, to tell you the truth," Jefferson said. "It was drive, drive, pass, pass and then somebody had an open shot and we just knocked them down."

    The Nets' reserves outscored the Wizards' 16-8 in the fourth quarter.

    "Tonight, it really came down to big shots by some of New Jersey's role players," Jordan said. "They put us in a bind."

    Each team's stars played their parts, too, of course.

    Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Jefferson combined to score New Jersey's first 15 points of the second half, while Caron Butler kept the Wizards in it by scoring nine of his team's 11 points in one stretch of the third quarter, which ended with the Nets ahead 71-70.

    Carter scored 28 points, topping 20 for the 11th game in a row. Kidd had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in his matchup with Washington's All-Star point guard, Gilbert Arenas, who finished with 25 points and eight assists before fouling out.

    Butler also scored 25 for the Wizards, and Antawn Jamison had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

    The Nets claimed the teams' season series 2-1, and the Atlantic Division leaders improved to a season-high 10 games over .500 at 38-28. "We feel good about ourselves," Frank said. "We're getting a lift from different guys on different nights and everyone's kind of doing their part."

    It was a possible first-round playoff preview, because the Nets should wind up with the third seed in the East, and the Wizards could end up sixth. Washington's fifth right now, a half-game ahead of No. 6 Indiana, which lost 105-75 to Memphis.

    Before the game, Jordan talked about looking for more production from Brendan Haywood and Jared Jeffries, who've taken to calling themselves the "Little 2" -- as opposed to the Arenas-Jamison-Butler "Big 3."

    "Certainly, the 'Little 2' have to play at a higher level," Jordan said.

    That duo took six of Washington's first eight shots, and Haywood finished with 10 points and four rebounds. But Jeffries went 0-for-4 from the floor and played less than a minute after the first quarter; Jordan said that was simply due to a coaching decision, not an injury.

    Game notes

    Arenas broke Washington's franchise record for career 3s, hitting one with 7:07 left in the first quarter. That gave him 482 3-pointers for Washington, one more than Chris Whitney made from 1995-04. ... Washington now starts its longest trip of the season, a six-game swing starting Thursday at Utah. Other games are at the Clippers, Warriors, Kings, Rockets and Spurs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 112 100
    FGM-FGA 43-77 (.558) 36-81 (.444)
    3PM-3PA 7-14 (.500) 4-18 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 19-22 (.864) 24-26 (.923)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-31 15-42
    Assists 24 16
    Turnovers 9 15
    Steals 8 5
    Blocks 3 3
    Fast Break Points 14 16
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 14 4

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 28
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Caron Butler Butler
    Points: 25
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0