Nets 133, Nuggets 95
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Keith Van Horn has played only five games for the New Jersey Nets, but he’s already made quite an impression.
Van Horn scored 21 of his season-high 30 points in the decisive first half as the Nets routed the Denver Nuggets 133-95 Saturday night.
The rookie from Utah was 8-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and made 11 of 15 free throws. He also had four steals despite playing only 32 minutes.
``He’s very good,″ Nets coach John Calipari said. ``But with everything you saw tonight you know what I liked? I liked the way he went to the offensive boards. He got two but he went after about nine.″
Van Horn, the No. 2 pick in the last NBA draft, missed the Nets’ first 17 games with a sprained ankle.
``Tonight was the first time my ankle didn’t bother me at all,″ he said. ``Defensively I think I played well but there are still things I have to improve.″
The Nets, who led by 24 at halftime, scored their most points of the season and snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Nuggets lost their fourth in a row and seventh in their last eight. They also dropped to 0-12 on the road this season.
``If I’ve got one comment about this game, it would be one word _ ugly,″ said Nuggets coach Bill Hanzlik, who received two technical fouls and was ejected with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter for protesting a flagrant foul against Johnny Newman.
The Nuggets, who trailed by 47 points in the fourth quarter, committed 26 turnovers and were outrebounded 56-37.
````We have to stick together and step up if we want to get any better,″ said Newman, who led Denver with 21 points. ``We have to be honest to ourselves. We’re not playing good basketball now.″
Sherman Douglas scored 19 points for the Nets, and Jayson Williams had 18 points and 22 rebounds.
Van Horn had eight points in an early 23-8 burst that gave the Nets a 23-10 lead.
Denver closed to 35-27 on two free throws by Tony Fortson and a jumper by Anthony Goldwire. But the Nets scored 15 of the next 20 points, including eight by Van Horn, to open a 50-31 lead.
New Jersey led 68-35 moments before halftime and continued to pour it on in the second half.
Notes: The Nets are 7-2 at home. Their previous high in scoring this season was 113 against Milwaukee on Nov. 1 ... Denver has lost 26 of its last 27 road games, dating back to last season.