New Jersey 92, Minnesota 88

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 12 (AP) -- Sitting at the end of the New Jersey Nets' bench didn't agree with Bostjan Nachbar, so he did something to improve the situation.

Nachbar made the most of his chance to play in third quarter and scored 10 of his 14 points in a decisive spurt to lead the Nets to a 92-88 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

"It's not the best feeling knowing that you are the 11th or 12th player on the bench,'' Nachbar said. "Definitely when I came in, I came in with a lot of fire because I wanted to make up for the lost time I had in the first half. I wanted to help with my aggressiveness because we were really struggling today.''

What Nachbar did best in the tight game was take advantage of the Timberwolves overplaying his jump shot. He scored consecutive three-point plays by going backdoor and getting outstanding passes from Jason Kidd, who had nine points, nine assists and 10 rebounds in just missing his 100th triple-double.

"He (Nachbar) got to the basket,'' added Vince Carter, who had 17 points and 10 assists. "He took advantage of the plays. He did a great job of getting himself open to hit shots.''

Richard Jefferson added 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Nets won their third straight game.

Sebastian Telfair scored 24 points and Al Jefferson added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost for the 23rd time in 25 road games this season.

Nachbar, who didn't play in the first 29 minutes, had 10 points in the final 6:53 of the third quarter during a 20-10 spurt that gave the Nets the lead for good. The backup forward hit four of seven shots and all six of his free throws in the game. He even had an assist in the game-deciding run that put New Jersey ahead by 10 entering the final quarter.

Kidd also set by baskets by Josh Boone and rookie Sean Williams in the spurt and hit a layup off one of Boone's two assists.

A driving dunk by Carter to start the fourth quarter pushed the lead to a dozen.

Nachbar quipped that he knew what to do because he had a lot of time to study the game.

"The unit that was on the floor with Josh and Sean and Jason and 'Toine' (Antoine Wright), I think we were a little more aggressive and were able to find spots and holes in their defense and go from there,'' Nachbar said.

Coach Lawrence Frank didn't say why he waited so long to use Nachbar but he was happy with the result.

"We found a way to win tonight and that group was largely responsible for that,'' he said.

Neither team showed much on either end of the court in the first 2 1/2 quarters. They combined for 92 points, shot in the 30 percent range and turned the ball over 16 times in the first half alone.

Minnesota made a couple of runs in the fourth quarter, getting within five points three times and eventually cutting the margin to 82-78 on a 3-point play by Telfair with 2:25 to play.

Kidd then nailed a 3-pointer off a Carter assist to push the lead back to 85-78 with 2:04 to play.

After Telfair hit two free throws, Richard Jefferson hit two and Nachbar hit a jumper with 1:11 to play for an 89-80 lead.

A late 3-pointer by Randy Foye was the only thing that made the final score close.

"It was one of those games where we didn't hit shots,'' coach Randy Wittman said after the Timberwolves shot 37 percent in losing their fourth straight game. "We turned some shots down which made it a little more difficult.''

Notes: Timberwolves backup G Rashad McCants missed the game. He sprained his right ankle against Toronto on Sunday. ... With snow and ice on the roads only about 7,000 fans showed up for the game. Early in the second quarter, public address announcer Gary Sussman asked all the fans to fill the lower level of the IZOD Center. The announced crowd was 14,975. ... Al Jefferson had 40 points and 19 rebounds in the Timberwolves win over New Jersey a couple of weeks ago. Nets C Nenad Krstic had 10 points in one of his best efforts in coming back from knee surgery.


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