Krstic Carries Nets Past SuperSonics
New Jersey 109, Seattle 99
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- With their "Big Three" having an off night, the New Jersey Nets turned to Nenad Krstic to end their slide.
Krstic scored a season-high 25 points, and Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson scored 19 apiece as the Nets ended their two-game slide with a 109-99 triumph over the Seattle SuperSonics.
"We want (Krstic) to be aggressive," Jefferson said. "He has to understand that against a team like Seattle that doesn't have a dominant big, it's his chance to really excel."
The Nets recovered after an early 11-point deficit and pulled ahead in the third quarter behind Krstic, who scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the period.
"I felt good," he said. "My teammates were looking for me and gave me the ball in the post, especially in the second half."
Krstic snapped a 48-48 tie by scoring the first four points of the second half to spark a 17-4 run. He added a layup and two free throws before Jeff McInnis made 1-of-2 from the line to give New Jersey its biggest lead at 75-61.
But Seattle stormed back, burying four 3-pointers during a 22-10 stretch and pulling within 87-86 on Ray Allen's fallaway jumper over Jason Kidd with 8:09 left.
Carter answered with a pair of free throws and Kidd made a pair of key plays - recovering a loose ball and feeding Jefferson for a dunk before stealing the ball from Luke Ridnour at midcourt and taking it to the other end for a layup.
"Those kinds of plays have been missing all season," Kidd said. "We've been a step ahead or a step late. I just tried to guess that Ridnour was going to his outside hand and I got lucky."
Krstic added a tip-in and Carter buried a two free throws and a floater from the right baseline for a 99-90 cushion with 3:11 to go. New Jersey sealed the game from the line, making eight free throws in the final two minutes.
Carter bounced back from a scoreless first quarter. He slipped and fell on his backside while driving to the basket just five minutes into the game but stayed on the floor.
"I was going full speed and I guess there was a wet spot on the floor and I just slipped and went airborne," he said.
Jefferson grabbed 11 rebounds and Kidd finished with 10 points and nine assists for the Nets, who made nearly as many baskets (35) as free throws (34) en route to their highest-scoring game of the season.
"We wanted to keep them off the line because they can hurt you from the line," Seattle coach Bob Weiss said. "They had eight free throws in the first half and they ended up with 41. We just lost our focus in the second half."
But the Nets still struggled to defend the 3-point line, where the Sonics made 10-of-29 shots. New Jersey has allowed a league-leading 69 3-pointers this season.
"I would say we probably contested 65 percent of their shots, which is better than we've done the last two games," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We have a long ways to go but the effort and intent was very good."
Rashard Lewis buried four 3-pointers and scored 29 points and Allen had 19 but made just 4-of-18 shots from the floor as he was hounded by Kidd, Carter and Jefferson.
"He's not going to shoot 60 percent every night," Weiss said. "Teams are really focusing on Ray. He missed some shots he normally makes and he still got 19."