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Posted Feb 5 2007 3:00AM
The New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers both are coming off buzzer-beater losses despite standout performances from their leading scorers.
Those players will try to get their teams back on track when the Atlantic Division rivals meet Monday.
New Jersey (22-26) is trying to avoid its fourth straight loss after falling to Atlanta 101-99 in overtime on Sunday. The Nets' Vince Carter tied the game on a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining in the extra session, but Tyronn Lue drained a 23-footer at the final buzzer to hand the Nets their fourth late loss in the last eight games.
New Jersey's previous two defeats in their current skid came by a combined 57 points, so their latest was even more disappointing.
"It's a tough loss,'' said Carter, who is averaging 25.0 points for the Nets. "We can't be inconsistent and up and down during the course of the game. With us down bodies, we have to come out and play hard and scrappy from start to finish.''
Carter did his part recording 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds while Jason Kidd had a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists. Both are reserves on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
Marcus Williams, who was chosen to play in the Rookie Challenge, continues to be a bright spot off the bench, averaging 13.4 points over the last seven games, a big jump from his 7.2 season mark. He scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime on Sunday.
To snap their three-game losing streak, the Nets will likely need a better showing from the free-throw line. They have hit just 34 of 60 over the last two games and missed all eight attempts in the fourth quarter against the Hawks.
Carter drained 8 of 9 from the line on Dec. 2 en route to a season-high 41 points in a 112-107 win over the Sixers. He also grabbed eight rebounds and will look for a similar performance Monday.
The Sixers (15-33) had won four of six before Golden State's Al Harrington scored the game-winner with 1.2 seconds left to beat them 102-101 on Friday. Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala notched his third career triple-double and second of the season with 25 points, a career-high 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
"He's growing up right in front of our eyes,'' Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said of Iguodala. "The things that he is doing and the plays that he is making are going to carry us for a long time as we continue to play.''
Iguodala is averaging 23.3 points over the last eight games, a boost from his team-leading 17.3 season average. He may have trouble maintaining that strong play as he has been held to 11 or fewer points in eight of his nine career meetings with the Nets.
Andre Miller scored 19 points on Friday and Rodney Carney added 15 to improve his average to 11.1 points in seven straight starts. He scored 20 points in that earlier season loss to New Jersey.
The Sixers are playing the second of seven straight at home while the Nets are opening a three-game road trip.
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