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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- WASHINGTON 18 17 24 26 85 NEW JERSEY 25 24 18 11 78 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: WAS - JUWAN HOWARD 23, RICHARD HAMILTON 14, ISAAC AUSTIN 10 NJN - KEITH VAN HORN 24, JAMIE FEICK 15, STEPHON MARBURY 14

HIGH REBOUND: WAS - MICHAEL SMITH 13, JUWAN HOWARD 8 NJN - JAMIE FEICK 16, KEITH VAN HORN 11

HIGH ASSISTS: WAS - JUWAN HOWARD 4, ROD STRICKLAND 4 NJN - STEPHON MARBURY 12, SHERMAN DOUGLAS 3

ATT: 13,507


Extended Box

WASHINGTON (85) AT NEW JERSEY (78)

WASHINGTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

HOWARD F 38 8-16 7-9 2 6 8 4 1 5 2 23 SMITH F 26 1-2 2-2 4 9 13 2 3 2 4 4 AUSTIN C 32 4-12 2-2 1 2 3 1 2 1 4 10 RICHMOND G 29 3-9 1-2 0 0 0 3 2 3 1 8 STRICKLAND G 25 2-7 4-6 0 3 3 4 3 1 3 8 A WILLIAMS 20 4-6 0-0 2 5 7 1 4 1 1 8 KING 4 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 2 2 C WHITNEY 22 1-5 1-4 0 1 1 3 3 1 1 3 T MURRAY 17 2-6 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 1 0 5 J WHITE 3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 HAMILTON 20 5-7 2-4 0 0 0 1 2 1 1 14 JORDAN 4 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

TOTALS 240 31-72 19-29 10 30 40 19 24 16 19 85 (.431) (.655) TEAM REBS: 13 TOTAL TO: 19(21 PTS)

NEW JERSEY REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

NEWMAN F 43 4-18 0-0 2 5 7 1 3 0 2 9 VAN HORN F 38 7-20 8-8 3 8 11 0 5 1 1 24 MCILVAINE C 5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 KITTLES G 34 4-11 0-0 1 2 3 1 2 1 3 8 MARBURY G 40 6-12 2-3 0 0 0 12 2 2 7 14 FEICK 36 7-9 1-4 6 10 16 1 3 1 6 15 HARRIS 7 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 DOUGLAS 20 2-5 2-2 0 2 2 3 2 1 3 6 G MURESAN 9 1-3 0-0 2 2 4 0 2 0 0 2 CAGE 8 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 BURRELL DNP - LEFT KNEE PERRY DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 31-80 13-17 14 32 46 18 23 6 23 78 (.388) (.765) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 23(28 PTS)

WASHINGTON 18 17 24 26 - 85 NEW JERSEY 25 24 18 11 - 78

BLOCKED SHOTS: WASHINGTON - AUSTIN 2, A WILLIAMS 2, HOWARD, J WHITE. NEW JERSEY - NEWMAN 3, VAN HORN 2, CAGE, FEICK. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: WASHINGTON 4-10 (.400), RICHMOND 1-3, C WHITNEY 0-2, T MURRAY 1-3, HAMILTON 2-2. NEW JERSEY 3-13 (.231), NEWMAN 1-5, VAN HORN 2-4, KITTLES 0-1, MARBURY 0-2, DOUGLAS 0-1. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: RON GARRETSON, GARY BENSON, RON OLESIAK. A - 13,507. T - 2:14.


Box Score

WASHINGTON (85) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Howard 38 8-16 7-9 2-8 4 1 23 Smith 26 1-2 2-2 4-13 2 3 4 Austin 32 4-12 2-2 1-3 1 2 10 Richmond 29 3-9 1-2 0-0 3 2 8 Strickland 25 2-7 4-6 0-3 4 3 8 A Williams 20 4-6 0-0 2-7 1 4 8 King 4 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 C Whitney 22 1-5 1-4 0-1 3 3 3 T Murray 17 2-6 0-0 0-3 0 0 5 J White 3 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 1 0 Hamilton 20 5-7 2-4 0-0 1 2 14 Jordan 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 31-72 19-29 10-40 19 24 85 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.431, FT-.655. 3-Point Goals: 4-10, .400 (Richmond 1-3, C Whitney 0-2, T Murray 1-3, Hamilton 2-2). Team rebounds: 13. Blocked shots: 6 (Austin 2, A Williams 2, Howard, J White). Turnovers: 19 (Austin 4, Smith 4, Strickland 3, Howard 2, King 2, A Williams, C Whitney, Hamilton, Richmond). Steals: 16 (Howard 5, Richmond 3, Smith 2, A Williams, Austin, C Whitney, Hamilton, Strickland, T Murray).

NEW JERSEY (78) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Newman 43 4-18 0-0 2-7 1 3 9 Van Horn 38 7-20 8-8 3-11 0 5 24 Mcilvaine 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Kittles 34 4-11 0-0 1-3 1 2 8 Marbury 40 6-12 2-3 0-0 12 2 14 Feick 36 7-9 1-4 6-16 1 3 15 Harris 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Douglas 20 2-5 2-2 0-2 3 2 6 G Muresan 9 1-3 0-0 2-4 0 2 2 Cage 8 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 1 0 Burrell DNP - left knee Perry DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 31-80 13-17 14-46 18 23 78 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.388, FT-.765. 3-Point Goals: 3-13, .231 (Newman 1-5, Van Horn 2-4, Kittles 0-1, Marbury 0-2, Douglas 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 7 (Newman 3, Van Horn 2, Cage, Feick). Turnovers: 23 (Marbury 7, Feick 6, Douglas 3, Kittles 3, Newman 2, Harris, Van Horn). Steals: 6 (Marbury 2, Douglas, Feick, Kittles, Van Horn). ____________________________________________ Washington 18 17 24 26 - 85 New Jersey 25 24 18 11 - 78 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 13,507. T: 2:14. Officials: Ron Garretson, Gary Benson, Ron Olesiak.


Game Story

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- If New Jersey Nets coach Don Casey was not concerned about job security before tonight's game, he'd better be now.

The woeful Nets led by 15 points with 13 1/2 minutes to go only to collapse in the final six minutes as the Washington Wizards rallied for an 85-78 victory.

Off to a 2-13 start, New Jersey led 67-52 with 90 seconds left in the third quarter. The Wizards were able to cut the deficit to eight by the end of the quarter and took a 78-77 lead on Juwan Howard's three-point play with 4:25 to go.

Rookie Richard Hamilton, who had nine of his 14 points in the final 12 minutes, followed Howard's three-point play with a 3-pointer from the left wing and Washington pulled away.

"It was a great win for us tonight," Washington coach Gar Heard said. "It looked bad for a while but the guys who came off the bench played well. I am not afraid to go to my bench at any point during the game and put some pressure on the starters."

"We need to play for 48 minutes and play better on both ends of the court," Howard said. "I think that will give us a better effort. This is a game we were supposed to win."

The Nets managed just a free throw by Jamie Feick over the final 5:55 and actually are off to a worse start than last season, when they lost 17 of their first 20 and cost coach John Calipari his job.

Casey, an assistant on Calipari's staff, was named interim coach and received a one-year contract during the offseason. Nets management has said that Casey will not be judged until injured starters Jayson Williams and Kerry Kittles return to speed, but today's merger between the Nets and baseball's New York Yankees puts often impatient Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on a board with Nets principal owner Lewis Katz.

"I don't know anything about the coach's job," Nets point guard Stephon Marbury said. "I don't read the newspapers. There is no indication or talk in here that the coach's job is on the line. Common sense would assume that (he is in trouble) -- yeah. But it is not something I think about. It's not a distraction."

"There is pressure," Nets forward Keith Van Horn said. "But we have to get that out of our head, especially today and the last few days. Just try to stay focused on the game and away from everything else."

Van Horn led New Jersey with 24 points. But as has been the case throughout the season, he had just two in the fourth quarter and made just 7-of-20 shots from the field. New Jersey shot just 39 percent (31-of-80) in matching the worst start in franchise history.

Howard had a season-high 23 points, tied a season high with eight rebounds and matched his career high with five steals. Hamilton made 5-of-7 shots, including both of his 3-point attempts, and Michael Smith had a season-high 13 rebounds for the Wizards.

Feick also set a season high with 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Nets, who held a 46-40 edge on the boards but committed 23 turnovers. Marbury had 14 points and a season-high 12 assists but committed seven turnovers.

New Jersey did regain the services of Kittles, their starting shooting guard who missed seven games with a sore right knee. Kittles had eight points in the first half but went scoreless over the final two quarters. The Nets also lost guard Lucious Harris to an upset stomach and Jim McIlvaine to a bruised back.

"We didn't have Lucious, we didn't have McIlvaine and Kerry was starting to struggle and it showed," Casey said. "Nevertheless there were open shots and we didn't convert. This was a tough game for us to lose, particularly the way we lost it after playing sharp and efficient in the first half."

Marbury's free throw gave the Nets a 67-52 lead but Hamilton drained a 3-pointer, Howard sank a five-footer and Smith made two free throws to draw Washington within 67-59 entering the final quarter.

The Nets still maintained an eight-point cushion just over a minute into the fourth quarter when Aaron Williams sank an eight-foot jumper. He followed with a dunk with 8:58 left to draw the Wizards within 71-67. Hamilton added a steal and a breakaway dunk before Van Horn answered with a layup.

Hamilton hit a free throw with 7:34 left but Feick sandwiched tip-ins around a 3-pointer by Tracy Murray for a 77-73 lead with 5:54 to. Howard took advantage of Van Horn on the offensive end to score the next five points and Hamiton made it 81-77 with his 3-pointer,

The Nets closed to 81-78 with 48 seconds left but Williams grabbed an airball and put it in for a five-point lead with 24 seconds remaining.

"I knew time was running out and I saw that the shot was going to be short," Williams said. "So I just tried to grab it and flip it toward the rim. Luckily it went in."

"We cannot give teams early leads because sometimes it takes all of our energy to get back into the game," Hamilton said.

New Jersey led 49-35 at the half behind 16 points from Van Horn. The Nets shot 45 percent (19-of-42) but held Washington to just 32 percent (12-of-37).

The 78 points by New Jersey were a season low.

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