MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 17 (Ticker) --
The New Jersey Nets bolstered
their offensive attack prior to the game. Then they went out
and showed why they needed to.
Hours after trading for Vince Carter
, the shorthanded Nets
suffered an 89-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, who got a
season-high 27 points from Jason Williams
and 16 points and 12
rebounds from Pau Gasol
NBA TV highlights from |
Earlier Friday, the Nets attempted to address their offense -
which is the worst in the NBA at 85.1 points per game - by
adding superstar swingman Vince Carter
in a multi-player deal
with the Toronto Raptors.
"Obviously our focus was on the game, but Vince is a phenomenal
player," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He's an All-Star and
he's got great versatility. He's one of the truly special
players in this league."
With Carter not yet with the team, Travis Best
sidelined by a
sore groin and Alonzo Mourning
, Aaron Williams
and Eric Williams
headed to Toronto, the Nets had just eight players in uniform.
New Jersey was able to hang around most of the contest but
struggled down the stretch as fatigue definitely played a
In the final minute, Richard Jefferson
missed a pair of shots
and committed a turnover and Jason Kidd
failed to convert a
breakaway layup. Jefferson and Kidd figure to be the key
beneficiaries of Carter's offensive skills.
"We had some good moments and you could really see some
improvement in our players but we just fell short tonight,"
Frank said. "The second half we had some defensive letdowns and
some breakdowns. We need to keep on fighting and have guys
contribute because we might still be shorthanded the next couple
"New Jersey did an unbelievable job tonight considering that
they did a trade," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "They
came in here and played hard. Lawrence really had them ready."
Jefferson had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Brian Scalabrine
added a career-high 21 and nine for the Nets (7-15).
had 11 points and nine rebounds for Memphis (10-15),
converting four free throws in the waning seconds.
New Jersey led by as many as eight points in the first half, but
a 14-3 run in the final five minutes of the second quarter gave
the Grizzlies a 37-35 lead at the break. Williams scored 10
points in the opening half.
"A lot of the times we have open shots but just don't make
them," Williams said. "Tonight, I hit shots at the end of the
clock and we executed better."
Memphis opened its largest lead of the night, 75-66, following a
3-pointer by Williams with 5 1/2 minutes left. The Grizzlies'
lead was 83-76 with 1:51 remaining when two free throws by
Jefferson ignited an 8-2 burst.
But the Nets were unable to make the clutch shot, and Posey
sealed the triumph with his free throws. Memphis went 2-2 on
its homestand and embarks on a four-game West Coast swing.
"We wanted to come out tonight and do a better job of defending
our home court," Posey said. "We wanted to finish strong before
going out on the road. We knew we had to go out and do all we
were able to do to get this win."
Jefferson scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half,
including 18 in the fourth quarter.