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Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009
Finally, Nets win a game
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Players hugged at center court. Fans stood and cheered as music blared through the arena.
Finally, the New Jersey Nets got to experience that winning feeling again.
The Nets won for the first time this season, ending the worst start in NBA history at 18 losses by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 97-91 on Friday night.
Brook Lopez had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and Courtney Lee scored a career-high 27 points in his return to the starting lineup for New Jersey in its first game under Kiki Vandeweghe, its general manager who will coach the rest of the season.
"For me, I was happy for the players," Vandeweghe said. "This has been a bit of a struggle. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It was tough, tough on everybody."
Vandeweghe stood and clapped in front of the bench as the Nets, who set the record for the worst start with their loss to Dallas on Wednesday night, won for the first time since April 13, when they also beat the Bobcats.
Lee made the tiebreaking free throws with 2:22 left, dunked after a steal 15 seconds later, and New Jersey put it away when Devin Harris made three from the line with 1:26 remaining for a 93-86 lead.
"It feels good. We brought great energy," Harris said. "We didn't play great all the time, but we fought."
The Nets trailed by as many as eight points in the third quarter before controlling the fourth to end any fears of flirting with the NBA's longest single-season losing streak of 23 games, held by the Vancouver Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets.
Lakers 108, Heat 107
In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant banked in a 3-pointer over Dwyane Wade's defense at the buzzer, ending the superstars' sensational duel and giving the Lakers their eighth straight victory.
Bryant scored 33 points, but his off-balance bank shot from straightaway over Wade's outstretched hand likely will rank among the most incredible shots of his career. Wade scored nine of his 26 points in the final 2 minutes.
Celtics 105, Thunder 87
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 23 points, leading Boston to its seventh straight win.
Grizzlies 98, Mavericks 82
In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Grizzlies, and O.J. Mayo added 25 points.
Cavaliers 101, Bulls 87
In Cleveland, LeBron James had 23 points and 11 assists to lift the hosts over Chicago.
Knicks 114, Hawks 107
In Atlanta, Al Harrington scored 27 points and Chris Duhon had 25 points and 10 assists for New York, which sank nine 3-pointers in the first half.
Pistons 105, Bucks 96
In Auburn Hills, Mich., Rodney Stuckey scored 19 points and rookie Jonas Jerebko added 16 as the Pistons won for just the second time in 10 games.
Raptors 109, Wizards 107 (OT)
In Washington, Hedo Turkoglu hit a jump shot with 8 seconds left in overtime as Toronto edged the Wizards.
Hornets 98, Timberwolves 89
In New Orleans, Chris Paul had 16 points, 15 assists and a season-best eight steals in his return from injury as the hosts defeated Minnesota.
Jazz 96, Pacers 87
In Salt Lake City, Carlos Boozer scored a season-high 35 points and had 13 rebounds to lead Utah to its fourth straight victory.
Visit The Japan Times' Web site for a recap of Saturday's bj-league games.