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12.15.2007

James' good performance was not enough against Nets

Veteran star Vince Carter tied a season-high with 32 points as the New Jersey Nets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-97, to snap a four-game losing streak.

What's more, Richard Jefferson tallied 24 points and Josh Boone had 15 points and eight rebounds for New Jersey, which had also lost three in a row at home.

In fact, Carter shot 13-of-22 from the field and the Nets got help from another good all-around game from their point guard, as talented Jason Kidd had eight points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and five steals.

"This is really exciting to see those guys compete," Carter said of the Nets' bench, especially Boone. "It was a good feeling for me to see him step up, shoot with confidence and make them pay for that."

It's important to consider that LeBron James had 29 points, six rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, losers in seven of their last eight games. And Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which went 7-of-23 from three-point range and was outrebounded, 45-35.

"We started out the game so well, but the bottom line is we're not defending," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown expressed. "They scored 105 points on 50 percent shooting and they scored it rather easily. Not just that, but we got our behinds kicked on the glass. Every loose ball they came up with."

"King" James' three-pointer pulled the Cavs within 93-92 with 4:08 remaining, but Carter countered with a shot from beyond the arc.

Drew Gooden made 1-of-2 at the foul line with 2:55 left for a 97-95 Cleveland deficit. However, Boone hit 2-of-4 foul shots, and after a LeBron offensive foul, Jefferson's tip-in off a Carter miss moved New Jersey to a 101-95 advantage with 2:02 left.

Them, Carter and Kidd each launched two free throws in the final 1:16.

Actually, Bostjan Nachbar had 13 points for the Nets, while Gooden scored 13 and Daniel Gibson 12 for the Cavs.

It's fair to say that the Cavs were aggressive early, building an 18-6 lead, but the Nets rallied for the next 10 points, with Carter scoring eight in the spurt. New Jersey trailed 25-21 after the opening quarter and was behind, 57-50 at the half.

Now, we must remember that Cleveland has lost 10 of its last 11 games at New Jersey...James went 12-of-25 from the field after not starting in his previous game, a 118-105 home win over Indiana on Tuesday. The popular James sat out the previous five games with a sprained left index finger.

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