New Jersey 93, Orlando 78

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 10 (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets have long sought a productive backup for All-Star point guard Jason Kidd.

Marcus Williams appears to have ended that search.

Williams provided 12 clutch points off the bench and Vince Carter scored 32 points to lead the Nets to a 93-78 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

It was second strong game by Williams in as many nights. The rookie also had 17 points Friday in the Nets 92-78 win over the Celtics in Boston.

"Marcus has some innate scoring ability,'' Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He gives us another guy who can not only make shots, but create shots. That's what good players do.''

Williams is finding a scoring groove. It was the eighth time in 11 games that he scored in double figures.

"I think I have a lot more confidence now,'' Williams said. "Coach is letting me play through some of my mistakes and Jason is tutoring me, with all of the other veterans.''

Kidd had 10 points and nine rebounds as the Nets extended their winning streak to three.

Dwight Howard had another excellent shooting performance for the Magic, getting 25 points on 11-of-15 from the field along with 12 rebounds. It wasn't enough as Orlando lost for the 12th time in 16 games. Darko Milicic had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson had 14.

Williams came in late in the third quarter to spell Kidd and immediately took charge by scoring the last six points for the Nets in the period as New Jersey took a 66-63 lead.

Starting the fourth quarter, Williams orchestrated a 15-8 run that sealed it. Williams scored four points in the surge and dished out three assists. When Antoine Wright scored a fast-break basket with 7:29 left, the Nets had an 81-69 lead and were in full control.

"Marcus Williams really hurt us,'' Magic coach Brian Hill said. "He came in the game and just seemed to have his way there for a little stretch. They scored 27 in the fourth quarter and the second unit was the group primarily responsible.''

Carter scored 17 points in the first quarter for New Jersey, which was tied with Orlando at 28 after one period. Carter shot 6-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

The Nets' reserves scored the first 10 points of the second quarter and New Jersey took a 49-43 lead at the half. Rookie Josh Boone, Williams' teammate at the University of Connecticut, paced the Nets in the quarter with seven points in only 6 minutes.

The Magic clawed back in the third quarter, taking a 61-60 lead on a layup by Howard with 4:18 left. It was Orlando's first lead since Howard scored the first basket of the game.

It went back and forth until Williams entered with 3:02 left in the quarter and the Nets took control.

Notes: The Nets played their 12th set of back-to-back games. They are 6-6 in the first game and 4-8 in the second. ... The Magic have only one game left before the All-Star break. They host Portland on Wednesday. The Nets have two left leading to the break: a home date with San Antonio on Tuesday before playing on the road Wednesday in Toronto. ... Nets F Richard Jefferson has progressed to a point of swimming as part of his rehabilitation. Jefferson, who underwent surgery Jan. 22 to remove "loose bodies'' from his right ankle, was in the pool for the first time Saturday. There is no timetable for his return. "It's just the first step,'' Frank said. ... Carter reached 30 points for the 17th time this season.


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