Carter, Jefferson Lead Nets Past Wizards
New Jersey 89, Washington 83
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 19 (Ticker) -- A second-quarter sprint allowed the New Jersey Nets to get past the slumping Washington Wizards.
Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter fueled a decisive surge and the Nets held on for an 89-83 victory over the Wizards, who have lost three in a row.
"I was trying to get five players out there who were playing disciplined," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "This is about the Washington Wizards; this is not about Gilbert Arenas."
An All-Star last season, Arenas has had his moments. He admitted to being tossed out of a sports bar for rooting too loudly for the Wizards while recovering from an injury and there were occasions with both Golden State and Washington where he responded to teammates' complaints about touches by not shooting for an entire half.
"It was just one of those days where mentally I wasn't in it," said Arenas, who scored 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. "I wasn't playing well in the first half. He wanted to change the rotation and bring me off the bench and see how my attitude was."
Arenas buried a 3-pointer just 53 seconds after returning and added six points in the first 2:25 of the fourth quarter as the Wizards sliced an 11-point deficit to 69-68.
But Robinson responded with a 16-footer and - after Arenas sank a shot from just inside the arc - buried a short jumper in the lane and an 18-foot jump shot just 31 seconds apart to extend the lead to five.
Arenas missed a layup and Robinson fed Scott Padgett for a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a 78-70 cushion with 6:44 to go.
Washington climbed within 83-80 on a jumper by Butler with 1:45 left, but Vince Carter sank two free throws at the other end. Butler split a pair from the line with 54 seconds to go and Jefferson missed a wide-open 3-pointer, but Robinson grabbed the key offensive rebound.
Jason Kidd sank a pair of clinching free throws with 18 seconds left.
"Cliff was great throughout the game," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He made shots and finished his play with the offensive rebound that sealed the win."
The 19-year veteran played the entire fourth quarter after averaging just 16 minutes in six games this season. He entered the game averaging just 2.7 points.
"Cliff was big for us tonight and we're going to need to that," Carter said. "It was just an overall team effort."
Carter scored 19 points and Jefferson had 16 and 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double in nine games for the Nets (5-4), who have won two straight to climb back above .500.
Kidd added 12 points for New Jersey, which overcame its recent defensive struggles, holding Washington to 38 percent (31-of-82) shooting.
"Defensively, our guys took the challenge and did a great job," Frank said. "Holding a high-powered offense to 37 percent shooting, that's an improvement. We have a long way to go but we'll keep getting better."
The Wizards made just 20-of-61 shots after a strong first quarter and struggled from the line, where they were 17-of-31, including 11-of-22 in the second half.
"We probably need to spend a little more time on free throws," Jordan said. "We need to look in the mirror. We have two days of practice to see where everyone's emotional and mental state is."
Antawn Jamison scored 12 of his 23 points in the opening quarter as Washington built a 27-19 lead after one period. The teams traded baskets before the Wizards went nearly 6 1/2 minutes without a basket. During that stretch, they missed seven shots and committed four turnovers.
New Jersey took complete advantage, turning up its running game. Jefferson began the spurt with a pair of fast-break dunks, Marc Jackson added a jumper and fast-break layup and Zoran Planinic drilled a 3-pointer.
Carter capped the 15-1 sprint with a layup and a fast-break dunk for a 36-30 advantage and the Nets never trailed thereafter.