Jefferson scores 28 to lead Nets over Bobcats

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—For the New Jersey Nets, missing the playoffs took a lot the fun out of rallying from a 20-point deficit to beat the Charlotte Bobcats.

Richard Jefferson scored 28 points and hit a go-ahead jumper in overtime and the Nets limited the Bobcats to 47 points in the final 29 minutes in a 112-108 meaningless victory on Tuesday night.

“At the end of the day, it’s about winning,” said Jefferson, who gave Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor a bloody nose with a left to the face on a fourth-quarter dunk. “Nothing we do out there tonight will make us feel any better over the summer. It’s not going to give us any momentum heading into next season. It’s just a matter of going out there and being a professional.”

Vince Carter added 18 points, Devin Harris had 17 and eight assists and Bostjan Nachbar added eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Nets won their second straight.

“We showed big fight coming back,” Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. “I’m proud of the way our guys finished on their home court, considering we put ourselves in a hole down 20.”

Jason Richardson had 31 points to lead Charlotte in the game between two non-playoff teams. Nazr Mohammed added 19 points, Raymond Felton had 18 and Okafor had 15 rebounds.

Richardson said the Bobcats got complacent with the big lead and the Nets got aggressive.

“I think we thought we had them buried in the books, and you can’t do that to any NBA team. You have a team down, you have to kick them. In the NBA, if you don’t kick them, they are going to kick you. That’s what they did. They got a lot of energy, they got their fans into it, they wanted to win their last home game.”

Jefferson broke a 99-all tie with a jumper from the right wing and Carter followed with a 3-pointer after a Richardson miss for a 104-99 lead.

A basket by Mohammed and two free throws by Matt Carroll got the Bobcats within a point, but Harris hit a 3, Bostjan Nachbar made two free throws and Jefferson nailed a 3 to push the advantage to 112-105.

After building a 20-point first half lead, Charlotte had to rally from a 92-87 deficit with 2:09 to play to force the overtime.

Felton put in his own rebound and Jared Dudley made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer to tie the game with 1:09 to go.

A fastbreak layup by Jefferson gave New Jersey the lead, but Carroll scored in the lane with 19 seconds left to tie the contest at 94.

Jefferson’s off balance shot in the waning seconds bounced off the rim.

The Bobcats scored 15 straight points in a 29-7 run that gave them a 33-18 lead after the first quarter. Charlotte increased its margin to 20 points in the second quarter and went to the locker room ahead 61-44.

Carter had 10 points in the third quarter to help close the deficit to nine and then the Nets used a 26-12 run in the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 92-87 lead.

Notes

Jack Nies refereed his 2,000th game. …The Nets finished 21-20 at the Izod Center, their seventh straight winning season at home. …Nets F Josh Boone will sit out the final two games with a sprained right knee. …Okafor and Richardson tied the Bobcats’ franchise record playing in their 81st game. No Bobcat has played in all 82 games. …Carroll was called for a flagrant foul for a hip check on Harris.

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Tuesday, Apr 15