Nets Go On Crazy Run, Now 2-0
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – The New Jersey Nets have started the season on another streak — a winning streak.
After opening last season with an NBA-record 18 straight losses, the revamped Nets are going in a different direction under new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and new coach Avery Johnson.
Devin Harris had 21 points and 10 assists and the Nets staged another late rally in a 106-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
This win came just two days after the Nets rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 1:40 to win their season opener against Detroit.
“It says we’re a team of a lot of heart but that’s not something we want to make a habit,” Harris said. “It’s good to know we can make these comebacks. We don’t want every game (to be) we lose it, then we’re down 10 in the fourth quarter and we have to put time and energy to come back because it’s a long season.”
It can never be a long as last year, when the Nets won 12 games. They needed 21 games to get two wins last season.
“It just shows how hard we’ve been working and the preparation we’ve put in,” said Brook Lopez, who led the Nets with 29 points and 15 rebounds.
New Jersey closed with a 17-3 surge over the final 3:40, with Harris scoring six straight late in the run.
“Praise the comeback,” said Johnson, whose team used a game-closing 13-3 spurt to beat Detroit. “Guys don’t give back. Let’s praise the comeback. That’s what it’s all about.”
There were negatives though.
The Nets squandered an 18-point lead in this one, and gave up 32 points off turnovers.
Still, they are 2-0 for the first time since 2002-03.
Travis Outlaw added 18 for New Jersey and Jordan Farmar had 14, including four late free throws.
Tyreke Evans, who missed the Kings’ opener because of a one-game suspension for pleading no-contest to reckless driving, and Francisco Garcia had 18 points apiece for Sacramento. Carl Landry and Beno Udrih each had 14 points.
The Kings were trying to open the season with consecutive wins for the first time since 2003-04 and seemed to be on their way when Evans scored on a reverse layup with 3:41 to play for a 97-89 lead.
However, they quickly fell apart and New Jersey took advantage.
“This is one of the guys we should have pulled it out,” Evans said. “We had a problem with that last year so we have to take this loss on the chin and come back.”
Down eight, Lopez scored inside and Farmar hit a big 3-pointer for the second straight game to cut the lead to 97-94 with 2:20 to go.
After Landry missed a reverse, Harris made another free throw, then put New Jersey ahead 98-97 with a 3-pointer with 1:12 left.
Udrih missed a jumper and Harris sent a charge through the crowd of 13,482 fans when he made an off-balance shot for a 100-97 edge.
“As a young team, when we make mistakes we have to keep our heads up and continue to fight,” said Harris, who was 7 of 10 from the field. “I think sometimes when we compound mistakes we sort of let it down a little bit and take our foot off the gas. But we have continue to fight through and we showed a lot of resilience coming back in the fourth quarter.”
Farmar and Outlaw made some key free throws down the stretch to ice the ugly game that featured 62 personal fouls, 38 turnovers, including 26 by New Jersey, and six technical fouls.
While the Nets had more turnovers, they also had more free throws, making 36 of 45 attempts. Sacramento was 17 of 26.
“To give up 45 free throws is not the way to win the game,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said.
Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins, the fifth overall pick in the draft, had 12 points before fouling out with 3:26 to play. Nets forward Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick overall, had 10 points.
New Jersey, which shot 59 percent in the first half, built an 18-point lead late in the second quarter when Lopez hit two free throws with 3:33 left in the half.
The Nets got sloppy after that and the Kings closed the half with a 14-4 spurt to cut it to 61-53.
Sacramento kept chipping away at the lead in the third quarter, closing to 68-66 on a 3-pointer by Garcia with 6:54 left in the period.
After the Nets pushed the lead back to 76-68 on dunk by Favors, the Kings went on a 14-point spurt to take the lead.
Notes: Prokhorov took NJ Transit from New York to Newark and then walked the five minutes to the Prudential Center. … Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, was at the game. … Kings C Samuel Dalembert played 6:23 after missing the opener with a strained groin.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)