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Nets Survive Another Atlanta Scare

Through three quarters at the Meadowlands Tuesday night, the Nets looked like they had solved the riddle that is the Atlanta Hawks, one that had troubled them in three previous meetings this season. They led by 21 entering the fourth quarter. It was a 16-point game with 8 1/2 minutes to go when Atlanta went on a 15-0 run to cut the lead to one. Vince Carter then hit a big three in the corner and the Nets turned up the defense down the stretch, with Richard Jefferson drawing a key offensive foul on Joe Johnson when Atlanta had a chance to tie or take the lead with eight seconds remaining in the game. Carter led the Nets with 27 points, Jason Kidd dished out 13 assists and Nenad Krstic recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 boards. It was the Nets' 13th straight win and their 22nd in their last 25 home games. Before the game had concluded, the Nets had already clinched their fourth Atlantic Division crown in the last five years, thanks to Philadelphia's loss in Cleveland.