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Hapless Nets beat stumbling Knicks

NEW YORK — Devin Harris scored 31 and the Nets erased an early 16-point deficit to beat the Knicks 113-93 Saturday night, improving the league's worst record to 7-55.

Courtney Lee added 25 in his return to the starting lineup for the Nets, who are trying to avoid finishing with the worst record in league history. They beat the Knicks for the second straight time but have no more games against their almost-as-hapless neighbors across the Hudson River.

Taking advantage of the easiest game on a difficult early March schedule, the Nets snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time since stunning the Celtics last week. Despite their woeful record, the Nets have won three straight road games.

Brook Lopez finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for New Jersey, which took control in the third quarter behind 13 points from Harris.

Former Florida Gator David Lee scored 23 and Wilson Chandler had 20 for the Knicks, who were 0-of-18 on 3-point attempts in losing for the 12th time in 14 games. The Knicks joined the Bobcats as the only teams with multiple losses to the Nets this season.

The Knicks got only two points in 23 minutes from Tracy McGrady and were frequently booed in the second half.

Courtney Lee, who missed three games with a sprained left ankle, helped the Nets put it away early in the fourth. The Knicks had trimmed the deficit to five before the Nets ran off 11 straight points, capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Lee, to make it 96-80 with 6:13 remaining.

The Nets were coming off consecutive home losses to powers Cleveland and Orlando and are running out of time to surpass the 9-73 record of the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers that is the worst in league history. This was the opener of a five-game road trip that now moves to the Western Conference for games at Memphis, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Houston.

Magic motivated for Lakers rematch

ORLANDO — The picture hanging in the training room reminds Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson of their NBA Finals elimination.

In the image, the Magic's leaders sit on the bench, biting their jerseys, stoic and staring at the Lakers tasting the title on Orlando's floor.

"Never again," they said.

Howard, Nelson and the rest of the Magic have wanted that feeling to stick for motivation.

So when the Lakers return today for the first time since that champagne-splashed championship celebration, it's the type of moment the Magic hopes to let loose all the painful memories from a series the players have yet to forget, from a picture they've yet to rip off the wall.

"I guess it was to show our look after our loss, seeing somebody celebrate on our home floor. I think that was the whole thing behind the picture," Howard said. "We didn't like it at all. We know how tough it is to get to the finals, and to make it and lose and have a team celebrate on your home floor, it hurts. But you live and you learn."

The Lakers can relate.

Kobe Bryant and his teammates were fueled last season by a finals defeat a year earlier to the Celtics. Nothing resonated more than their Game 6 beatdown in Beantown, sent home after losing by 39.

"Definitely more motivated," Bryant said of his team's attitude after the loss in the finals. "You understand the level of hunger you have to play at."

The Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference but are trying to avoid three straight losses for the first time since acquiring All-Star forward Pau Gasol in February 2008.

Meanwhile, pushing the Magic just as much as that trophy ceremony are the things the team has seen or read about since. But mostly, it is the Lakers celebrating.

Only time will tell if the Magic's motivation is enough. The team's mission continues today (2:30, Ch. 28, 1040-AM).

Spurs' Parker breaks bone: Spurs guard Tony Parker left the game against the host Grizzlies with a broken bone in his right hand. Parker, the team's second-leading scorer at 16.6 points a game, injured his hand at the end of the first half, Spurs officials said. He broke the fourth metacarpal — the bone between the bottom knuckle and the wrist — and did not return.

Rest for LeBron: LeBron James got a night off for the first time this season.

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown didn't use his superstar against the host Bucks, calling it "just a coach's decision."

"He's played a lot of minutes for us," Brown said. "I just felt it would be good for him and for the team to hold him out."

James had 40 points and 13 rebounds in a 99-92 win over the Pistons on Friday night but turned his right ankle slightly. Brown said his decision had "nothing" to do with the injury and James could play if needed.

Game highlights: Point guard D.J. Augustin scored 19 off the bench, forward Gerald Wallace added 18 before getting ejected, and the host Bobcats pulled away late to beat the Warriors 101-90. Warriors guard Stephen Curry, a Charlotte native, scored 25 but shot just 8-of-23. Wallace was tossed after elbowing Anthony Tolliver in the face during a tussle with 59 seconds left.

Around the league: Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey was "doing well" and was released from the hospital after collapsing on the bench Friday against the Cavaliers. All tests done at the Cleveland Clinic came back normal, the team said. He was returning to Detroit and will have further tests. … Heat center Jermaine O'Neal injured his left knee in the second quarter against the visiting Hawks, and it's uncertain how long he'll be out. … Nets forward Yi Jianlian sprained his left ankle in the first quarter against the host Knicks and could not return. A team spokesman said Yi was getting X-rays. … Mavericks center Brendan Haywood was a late scratch against the host Bulls because of tightness in his lower back.

Nets 113, Knicks 93

NEW JERSEY (113): Hassell 0-2 3-4 3, Yi 1-4 1-1 3, Lopez 7-13 4-5 18, Harris 13-21 1-1 31, C.Lee 9-16 2-2 25, Dooling 2-6 0-0 6, Williams 1-4 1-2 3, Humphries 5-7 0-2 10, Douglas-Roberts 2-6 1-1 5, Hayes 3-7 0-0 9. Totals 43-86 13-18 113.

NEW YORK (93): Gallinari 6-8 3-4 15, Harrington 6-16 0-0 12, D.Lee 10-17 3-5 23, Chandler 7-15 6-8 20, McGrady 1-6 0-0 2, Walker 2-4 0-0 4, Rodriguez 4-9 1-1 9, House 3-8 0-0 6, Bender 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 40-85 13-18 93.

New Jersey 22 34 27 30— 113

New York 32 18 24 19— 93

3-Point GoalsNew Jersey 14-24 (C.Lee 5-7, Harris 4-7, Hayes 3-6, Dooling 2-2, Williams 0-2), New York 0-18 (Walker 0-1, Gallinari 0-1, McGrady 0-2, Rodriguez 0-2, Chandler 0-3, House 0-4, Harrington 0-5). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsNew Jersey 53 (Lopez, Williams 11), New York 45 (Chandler 10). AssistsNew Jersey 23 (Williams 7), New York 19 (McGrady 7). Total FoulsNew Jersey 16, New York 20. TechnicalsLopez. A19,763 (19,763).

Bobcats 101, Warriors 90

GOLDEN STATE (90): Maggette 8-15 2-3 19, Tolliver 2-8 4-6 9, Turiaf 0-1 0-0 0, Curry 8-23 5-6 25, Morrow 5-11 0-0 11, Hunter 4-13 1-4 9, Watson 4-8 0-0 9, Williams 3-7 0-0 8, George 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 34-89 12-19 90.

CHARLOTTE (101): Wallace 6-12 6-8 18, Diaw 6-10 1-2 14, Ratliff 4-6 3-3 11, Felton 4-14 0-0 9, Jackson 5-16 2-2 12, Chandler 1-2 0-0 2, Henderson 1-4 1-2 3, Thomas 2-8 1-2 5, Augustin 7-10 2-3 19, Graham 4-5 0-0 8, Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-87 16-22 101.

Golden State 19 35 22 14— 90

Charlotte 24 29 28 20— 101

3-Point GoalsGolden State 10-23 (Curry 4-8, Williams 2-4, Maggette 1-1, Watson 1-1, Morrow 1-2, Tolliver 1-5, George 0-2), Charlotte 5-20 (Augustin 3-4, Diaw 1-1, Felton 1-5, Henderson 0-1, Wallace 0-1, Graham 0-1, Jackson 0-7). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsGolden State 43 (Hunter 13), Charlotte 72 (Diaw 12). AssistsGolden State 18 (Tolliver 5), Charlotte 24 (Diaw 9). Total FoulsGolden State 21, Charlotte 20. TechnicalsWallace. Ejected— Wallace. A19,392 (19,077).

Hapless Nets beat stumbling Knicks 03/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 6, 2010 10:55pm]

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