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Nets Surprise with Defense in Win Over Wizards

The knock on the Nets in preseason was their porous defense. Not so in the opener in Washington. New Jersey held the Wizards to 37 per cent shooting overall and (surprise, surprise) 23.8% from deep as they won 95-85, stopping Washington without a field goal for six minutes late in the fourth. In addition, the Nets turned the ball over only nine times, erasing another preseason concern. Hours after being named captain, Vince Carter had an impressive outing to lead the winners, scoring 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting and handing out six assists. Carter hit a 16-foot fadeaway jumper over Caron Butler to put the Nets ahead 90-82 with a minute left and put the game out of reach. But the big surprise was the contributions of the team's new faces. Yi Jianlian scored 17 on 6-for-11 shooting, including two deep three's. Jarvis Hayes, playing against the team that picked him in the draft--then dumped him, had 14 off the bench, including two more three's, and rookie Brook Lopez had eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Devin Harris finished with 13 points and 5 assists. Antawn Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson led the Wiz with 14 each.