By TOM WITHERS
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 10:19 PM
CLEVELAND -- Kris Humphries grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds and made several big plays in overtime, leading the New Jersey Nets to just their fifth road win, 98-94 on Wednesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers in a matchup of two bad teams winding down miserable seasons.
Jordan Farmar's two free throws with 3.8 seconds left helped seal it for the Nets, who snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 5-29 in road games.
Humphries, Brook Lopez and Sasha Vujacic scored 18 apiece for New Jersey.
Ramon Sessions scored 21 and J.J. Hickson had 17 with 17 boards for the Cavs, who have lost four straight and seven in a row at home.
Humphries battled underneath all game long, and the muscular 6-foot-9 forward was at his best in overtime.
In the final 1:09 of OT, he blocked a potential go-ahead layup by Daniel Gibson, grabbed rebound No. 23, made two free throws and stole the ball from Sessions with 28.4 seconds left and the Nets clinging to a 92-90 lead.
Farmar made two free throws before Sessions scored on a layup to make it 94-92. The Cavs were forced to foul and Anthony Morrow's two foul shots put the Nets ahead 96-92 with 11.3 seconds left. Hickson's bucket got the Cavs within two but Farmar dropped his free throws, rescuing the Nets.
It was a rough shooting night for both squads. New Jersey shot just 34 percent, and Cleveland wasn't much better at 37 percent.
The announced crowd was 18,923, but only about half the seats in Quicken Loans Arena, which holds 20,562, were filled - one of whom was wearing a chicken suit. The sparse turnout was reminiscent of the seasons leading up to LeBron James' arrival in Cleveland.
By games end, only a few thousand fans were hanging around.
Lopez came in averaging more than 24 points, but he was harassed by Cavs center Ryan Hollins and never got going. Lopez finished 7 of 21 from the field, missing several close-range shots.
The Nets were without star point guard Deron Williams, who missed his third straight game with a strained tendon in his right wrist. Coach Avery Johnson said Williams, acquired last month in a blockbuster deal with Utah, will be re-evaluated on Friday when the team is in Orlando.
Cavaliers guard Baron Davis missed his third straight game with back spasms. Davis has only played in four of 13 possible games since he was acquired in a Feb. 24 trade from the Clippers.
Anthony Parker's contested 18-foot jumper with 12.1 seconds left put the Cavaliers ahead 82-80, but Lopez tied it with a tip-in with 4.3 seconds remaining. Lopez missed a short shot in the lane but bulled his way past Hollins and directed in his miss.
Parker was way off with a 17-footer in the final second and the teams went to overtime tied 82-all.
Cavs coach Byron Scott promised changes to his starting lineup, leading some to believe that a massive shake-up was coming. However, all Scott did was start Hollins at center in place of Samardo Samuels to try and offset the 7-foot Lopez, and he moved Hickson to power forward.
Lopez wasn't a factor early. He picked up a questionable second foul with 5:12 left in the first quarter and was pulled by Johnson, who didn't want to risk getting his big man into further foul trouble.
Hollins did succeed in being a pest to Lopez. He locked him up several times near the basket and the pair had words during a timeout.
Notes: Scott doesn't have fond memories of his two appearances in the NCAA tournament. "What I remember was that we lost early," said Scott, who recently had his number retired at Arizona State. "March Madness wasn't much for me. I was just mad." ... Nets rookie F Damion James continues to have pain in his right foot. He had surgery on it in December, returned in February and played eight games but has missed the past two. ... New Jersey had hoped rookie G Ben Uzoh, recalled earlier in the day from Springfield of the Developmental League, would be available. But Uzoh won't join the team until Friday. ... For the second straight game, Browns cornerback Joe Haden sat courtside, wearing a full Cavs uniform. This time, he also sported an Anderson Varejao wig.