Tue. Final: Nets 99, Bucks 85
Next game: Saturday, Feb. 7 vs. Detroit
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (AP) -- This was not the homecoming Richard Jefferson envisioned.
Vince Carter made sure of that.
"R.J. was being R.J.," Carter said. "So we had a good time with him."
Carter had 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his fifth career triple double, and the New Jersey Nets spoiled Jefferson's return with a 99-85 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
"Being here was good. All the fans in New Jersey have always shown me a lot of respect, even when I first got into the league," Jefferson said. "Unfortunately, I didn't do enough; we didn't do enough to come away with the win."
It was the first time in New Jersey for Jefferson, who spent his first seven seasons with the Nets, after being dealt for Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlian this past summer. Unlike Jason Kidd's return earlier this season, his visit lacked the hype.
His 8,507 points scored rank him second on the Nets all-time list. He was part of the core that consisted of Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Carter (for three-plus seasons) and led New Jersey to six straight postseason appearances from 2002-07, including the NBA Finals 2002 and 2003.
Although he started off the night by missing his first three shots, Jefferson finished by hitting 7-of-16 from the field to lead Milwaukee with 27 points.
"For a long time the name on the front of the chest meant a lot to me," Jefferson said prior to the game. "Playing for Jersey and for this organization was all I wanted."
Brook Lopez had 22 points and 12 rebounds to complement Carter, who had his third triple-double with the Nets and first since April 4, 2002, against Washington.
"He's a good player and I think this is a quality system for him," Jefferson said of Lopez. "When you have Vince and Devin, who are creating so much havoc on the pick-and-roll, you're first job is to stop him."
Ryan Anderson added 19 points for the Nets.
The Bucks are 2-3 in games without the injured Michael Redd. Ramon Session had 19.
"Brook Lopez was obviously very hard for us to handle and Ryan Anderson's offense was a lot of the time behind the 3-point line," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "Nothing against Anderson, but I never thought I would say we got manhandled by him."
The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter before Milwaukee closed to 74-70 on a put-back dunk by Dan Gadzuric. Keyon Dooling, who scored 19 off the bench, hit three 3-pointers and Lopez had seven points in the fourth as the Nets pulled away.
"Well obviously, they're minus Redd and Bogut," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "I thought defensively we gave a pretty good effort. The thing that was hurting us was their penetration at times, and their ability to get to the middle."
Notes: Anderson and Lopez were the first rookie tandem for the Nets to lead the team in scoring in the same game since Brian Scalabrine and Jason Collins scored 16 apiece at Toronto on April 14, 2002. Lopez's double-double was his team-leading 10th of the year and has scored 20 or more points in a game eight times, passing Mike Gminski who had seven in 1980-81. The Nets have won 10 of 12 against the Bucks.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)