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 Nets easily top Memphis for 3rd straight home win

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PostSubject: Nets easily top Memphis for 3rd straight home win   Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:58 pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.(AP) It's rarely this easy for the New Jersey Nets, especially in their own building.Vince
Carter had 25 points and a season-high 12 assists, and the Nets beat
the Memphis Grizzlies 100-89 on Wednesday night for their third
straight home victory.Playing without leading scorer Devin
Harris (sore right hamstring), the Nets enjoyed one of the most
relaxing nights a team could have. They raced to an early double-digit
lead, kept it most of the way, and never trailed in a game for the
first time this season."When you get a lead like that, for us,
we just have to protect the home court,'' Carter said. "We wanted to
get a lead, keep a lead, put the game away.''The Nets shot 54
percent from the field and won for the first time in five games this
season without Harris, their starting point guard. Besides Carter's
strong play, Keyon Dooling added nine points and eight assists as
Harris' replacement."We're asking a lot from Keyon and Vince as
the primary ball handlers,'' Nets coach Lawrence Frank said, "and you
know I think they've done a very, very good job.''Yi Jianlian
added 20 points, and rookie Brook Lopez had 17 for the Nets, who are
just 8-12 at the Meadowlands even after their longest home winning
streak of the season. They are 10-6 on the road and returned to .500
overall at 18-18.Rookie O.J. Mayo scored 26 points, and Rudy Gay
had 23 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the sixth time in seven games
and fell to 0-9 this season when playing on the second night of
back-to-back games."No excuses. Every team plays a
back-to-back,'' Mayo said. "It's not our first back-to-back, it's not
going to be our last, so there's no excuse there. We've jut got to come
out and play. We're a professional ball team and we've got to come out
and play hard.''The Nets scored the first seven points and hit
nine of their first 13 shots, finishing at 69 percent in the first
quarter to take a 32-18 lead. The lead grew to 16 on Carter's dunk with
1:29 remaining in the half, and New Jersey was up 55-42 at the break.Lopez
was 8-of-11 from the floor, powering his way to a number of easy dunks.
He also grabbed eight rebounds and matched a season high with five
blocked shots."A lot of people were just telling me to attack
the rim, try to be strong,'' Lopez said. "You know, don't worry about
getting blocked, or anything like that. Don't worry about trying to
draw a foul. Just go up there strong and everything will work out.''New
Jersey had a 69-53 lead after Dooling's layup with 6:58 left in the
third before Memphis finally got going. Mayo hit a pair of jumpers and
Gay a pair of dunks during a 14-4 spurt that trimmed it to 73-67 with
3:08 remaining."It's tough playing behind at any level,'' Gay
said. "Any kind of sport it's tough playing from behind. It's tough
trying to get back those points that you've lost the whole game.''The
Nets quickly pushed it back to double figures after Eduardo Najera hit
a jumper and 3-pointer on consecutive trips and led 81-71 after three.New Jersey got strong games from reserves Najera, who had nine points, and Jarvis Hayes, who had eight points and eight boards.Memphis
faced a double-digit deficit most of the final period before Hakim
Warrick's three-point play trimmed it to 91-82 with 3:15 to play. Mayo
then hit a pair of free throws, but Carter found Yi for an open jumper,
then knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 95-84.Marc Gasol finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies.Notes:
The Nets hope Harris, averaging 23.1 points, can return Friday at
Milwaukee. ... The Grizzlies waived F Darius Miles on Wednesday. He
appeared in two games for them. ... Memphis fell to 0-13 when failing
to reach 20 points in the first quarter.

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