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Harris has field day at stripe as Nets hand Pistons 1st loss in Iverson's debut

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Allen Iverson's first game with Detroit turned into the best night of Devin Harris' career.

Harris scored a career-high 38 points Friday night, outplaying Iverson in the second half and leading the New Jersey Nets to a 103-96 victory over the Pistons.

New Jersey, which trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, played some of its best basketball of the season in the final two periods to hand the Pistons their first loss after four wins to open the season.

"It was just about playing hard," Harris said. "We didn't get off to the best start. We have been really struggling in the third quarter but tonight we came out with more aggressiveness. Points for me didn't matter. It was all about the win. We desperately needed this for our confidence's sake."

Vince Carter and Josh Boone each scored 18 for New Jersey, which got its first home win after two losses. Boone also pulled down 14 rebounds.

Iverson had 24 points and six assists after finally getting to suit up. Detroit played twice since the trade Monday with Denver that sent Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb to the Nuggets for the nine-time All-Star. Iverson was not available for the first game and was not permitted to play the second because Billups had not completed his physical with the Nuggets.

Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, while Tayshaun Prince added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

It looked like an easy win for Detroit at the start.

Iverson stepped right in, joining Hamilton in the Detroit backcourt, replacing Rodney Stuckey. He got a rousing cheer from the crowd at the Izod Center when he was introduced with the starters.

Iverson immediately took over the game, factoring in the Pistons' first three scores. Iverson dished off to Hamilton for the game's first basket, scored on a finger-roll layup and kicked the ball out to Prince for a 3-pointer as Detroit took a 9-6 lead.

Iverson played the entire opening quarter, scoring 11 points, making all three shots from the field, including a 3-pointer, while going 4-for-4 from the free throw line as the Pistons raced to a 27-14 lead.

"It was a good feeling for me," Iverson said. "I haven't been able to play for a while so it was good to get back on the basketball court. I'll try to get a little bit of my rust off."

New Jersey cut the deficit to 44-39 at the half, thanks to eight points in the period from Boone.

New Jersey, led by Harris, came back to take a 72-70 lead after three quarters.

Badly outplayed by Iverson in their first-quarter matchup, Harris turned the tables in the third. Harris had 19 in the period, going 13-for-15 from the free throw line while forcing Iverson into four fouls. Iverson had a quiet quarter with only four points.

"I thought he showed unbelievable grit, fighting through, making plays, attacking the paint, having to guard Iverson," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said of Harris.

In the fourth quarter, Boone scored on a dunk midway through to give New Jersey an 87-79 lead that Detroit never overcame.

Hamilton nailed a 3-pointer with 41 seconds remaining to cut the Nets' lead to 98-94, only to have Harris answer back with a basket at the other end.

Although his first game with Detroit ended in a loss, Iverson expects better things in the future.

"We had the game and we let it get away in the second half," Iverson said. "Overall, it was a great experience for me. I felt fine out there, and we only can get better."

Game notes
Frank said Stromile Swift might begin practicing next week. He has yet to play this season with a sore back. Chris Douglas-Roberts and Trenton Hassell were also inactive for the Nets. ... Walter Sharpe was the lone inactive for Detroit. ... Wallace was whistled for a technical foul with 5:47 remaining in the third for profanity-laced complaint when he failed to draw a foul call. ... Yi Jianlian fouled out for the Nets with 3:40 remaining. Carter also fouled out with 1:53 left. Harris' previous best was 27 points against Indiana on March 28. He was 20-of-24 from the free throw line. The 24 attempts ties the Nets single-game record held by Carter (2005) and John Williamson (1978). ... The Nets ended a seven-game losing streak against the Pistons.