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Best effort aids Nets

James, Cavaliers unable to cope

Vince Carter and Jason Kidd had no problem handling the old triangle-and-2 defense that helped the Cleveland Cavaliers wipe out a 21-point deficit.

The Nets' two leaders just needed some fourth-quarter help yesterday, and Travis Best finally gave it to them -- after missing his first six shots.

Carter had 34 points and 11 rebounds and Kidd added 14 points and 12 assists, including one on a backbreaking 3-pointer by Best with 1:13 to play, as the Nets held off LeBron James and the Cavaliers, 104-98, in East Rutherford, N.J.

"It was the weirdest thing. I hadn't seen the triangle-and-2 since high school," said Carter, who hit 10 of 18 shots in notching his 15th straight 20-point game. "It got us out of whack a bit, but we kept fighting and stuck it out."

James, who did not take a shot until late in the first quarter, had 28 points, 7 assists, and 5 of the Cavaliers' 20 turnovers. He played 45 minutes despite battling a cold.

Down by 21 in the second quarter and 20 midway through the third, the Cavaliers woke up and cut the Nets' lead to 8 points entering the final quarter.

New Jersey missed its first seven shots and former Net Lucious Harris tied the game, 83-83, on a jumper with 8:38 to go.

Nenad Krstic, who had 15 points, sandwiched two free throws around a jumper by Carter to give New Jersey an 87-83 lead.

Raptors 108, Lakers 102 -- Jalen Rose scored 26 points, including 8 straight late in the fourth quarter, and host Toronto extended its winning streak to three games by beating Los Angeles. Rose scored 10 of Toronto's last 12 points as the Raptors closed the game on a 12-3 run.

Kobe Bryant had 31 points for the Lakers, who have lost two straight following a season-high three-game win streak.

Heat 112, Magic 103 -- Dwyane Wade scored 28 points, Eddie Jones added 24, and visiting Miami beat Orlando for a second straight day. The Heat were without Shaquille O'Neal, who sat out a fourth consecutive game with a sprained left knee.

Kings 110, Wizards 108 -- Cuttino Mobley made two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining, and Mike Bibby had 38 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists as visiting Sacramento edged Washington. Gilbert Arenas scored 43 points for the Wizards, who have lost five of six and had a five-game home winning streak.

Bucks 99, SuperSonics 73 -- Michael Redd scored 35 points and played tough defense on Ray Allen (16 points), leading Milwaukee over visiting Seattle.The Bucks limited the Sonics to a season-low 29.4 percent shooting from the floor.

Pistons 94, Warriors 88 -- In Oakland, Calif., Tayshaun Prince had 23 points and six rebounds and forced a turnover with under 20 seconds to play when Golden State had a chance to tie it as Detroit won its seventh straight. Baron Davis, making his Warriors debut, finished with 10 points and eight assists.

Jazz 99, Rockets 92 -- Matt Harpring scored 28 points, and Raja Bell added 21 to lead Utah over host Houston. Houston, which led by as many as 10 points in the first half, has dropped three straight after winning eight in a row.

Timberwolves 91, Trail Blazers 83 -- Latrell Sprewell scored 27 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with just more than a minute left, as Minnesota won in Portland.

Nuggets 94, Hornets 93 -- Carmelo Anthony scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to help Denver overcome an 11-point deficit in the final 10 minutes and nip host New Orleans.

Clippers 111, Hawks 104 -- Corey Maggette scored 25 points to help Los Angeles send Atlanta to its 19th consecutive road loss.

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