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Clippers Get an Early Jump on Loss

From Associated Press

Vince Carter and Jason Kidd applied the pressure early, and the New Jersey Nets never let up in a victory over the Clippers.

Carter scored 31 points and Kidd had eight points and 13 assists Wednesday night in a 95-78 win.

“Our intensity came out, right off the bat,” Kidd said. “We followed Vince, and Vince was awesome tonight.”

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 17 points as Los Angeles lost its third straight game and extended its road losing streak to five. Rick Brunson had 13 points and Shaun Livingston 10.

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Nenad Krstic of the Nets had 17 points on seven-of-nine shooting, Brian Scalabrine scored 12 and Jacque Vaughn 10 as New Jersey won for the seventh time in nine games.

New Jersey -- trying to break into the top eight in the East -- remained 10th in the conference, a half-game behind Orlando.

“From where we started, making the playoffs would be great with all the ups and downs we’ve had all season,” Kidd said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs, no matter what seed. We just want to get in.”

The Nets led, 52-38, at the half before the Clippers made a push to start the third quarter. The Clippers connected on their first four shots as Maggette, Marko Jaric, Livingston and Elton Brand scored to trim New Jersey’s lead to 54-46.

Carter, as he did all game, stepped up by making a three-point basket to restore a double-digit advantage.

“He’s very physical and incredibly athletic and he’s kind of on a roll right now,” Clipper Coach Mike Dunleavy said of Carter. “He’s a tough matchup for us.”

The Clippers remained within range until Kidd, who did not score in the first half, got his first points on consecutive three-point baskets to give the Nets a 69-54 lead. New Jersey went on to build an 83-63 advantage after three quarters.

“The Nets are fighting hard,” Brand said. “It didn’t seem like we were playing for anything.”

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The Clippers cut the Nets’ lead to three at the end of the first quarter, 28-25. Maggette paced the Clippers with eight points in the period.

Carter came out firing to start the second period, scoring the first seven points, and the Clippers wilted.


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