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New York vs New Jersey
90 - 94
Record: 15-39
Steve Francis in his first game for NY scored 16 points (Getty Images)
Steve Francis in his first game for NY scored 16 points (Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) - The Steve Francis era got off to a slow start in New York.

The Knicks allowed the first 10 points, trailed the rest of the way, and were frequently booed during the second half of a 94-90 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Friday night.

"We had a bad beginning and a horrible third quarter," Knicks coach Larry Brown said.

Francis, acquired from the Orlando Magic on Wednesday for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza , was received warmly by the crowd at Madison Square Garden when announced in pregame introductions. He started in the backcourt alongside Stephon Marbury and admitted he was nervous before the game.

"I haven't been able to practice," Francis said. "I felt like a new player who was basically thrown into the game with little experience."

There was little to cheer for Knicks fans once the game started. By the time Francis made New York's first field goal 4:34 into the game, New Jersey was ahead 10-0. Channing Frye had a two-handed dunk on the next possession off a pass from Francis, but the Nets then scored 10 straight points to take a 20-4 lead.

"Guys missed shots," said Francis, who scored 16 points in 32 minutes.

The three-time All-Star had averaged 16.2 points with the Magic.

"I was decent," Francis said. "I could have done much better."

Marbury was playing in only his second game after missing 11 straight with a left shoulder injury and still looked rusty. He scored six points on 2-for-9 shooting, missing three layups.

"I just have to get my rhythm back," Marbury said. "I had some great looks, it just didn't go down."

Brown was excited to have Francis and Marbury in the backcourt, but realizes it will take some time for them to get used to playing together.

"This is a process," Brown said. "We didn't have Steve Francis with us in practice and that's going to impact us."

Richard Jefferson scored 27 points to lead New Jersey (31-23), which has won four straight and eight of its last 10 games. Vince Carter added 26 points and Nenad Krstic had 23, going 11-for-11 from the field before fouling out.

Krstic needed only to make two more field goals to match the franchise record of 13 without a miss set by Roy Hinson in 1988.

"He was unbelievable," Jefferson said of Krstic. "He has a long way to go, but it is amazing with J-Kidd and Vince he still finds a way to stand out."

Frye had 20 points and eight rebounds to lead New York (15-39), which has lost 18 of its last 20 games and is in last place in the Atlantic Division. Jalen Rose added 18 points and Eddy Curry had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"For us to add him (Francis) to our team is only going to be a plus," Rose said. "Then it's just about us getting that continuity and then going out and playing and getting some wins."

With Francis unable to practice Thursday, the Knicks looked to push the ball up the court and it seemed to work in the second quarter, as they closed within 32-28 on a dunk by Malik Rose . New Jersey then outscored New York 12-7 the rest of the half to take a 44-35 lead at the break.

"Coach wanted us to push the ball tonight," Marbury said. "We have to get fouls, loose balls and easy rebounds. Those are things that hurt us tonight."

The Nets extended their nine-point halftime lead to 18 in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Carter with 16 seconds left in the period, drawing boos from the crowd. New Jersey led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter before New York used an 11-0 run to close within 77-67.

The teams traded baskets and New York trailed 90-77 before closing the game on a 13-4 run, capped by Francis' 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"The Knicks did a good job in the fourth quarter of going down low and getting fouls, but luckily we had enough cushion to hold them off," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.

Bostjan Nachbar , acquired from the New Orleans Hornets for forwards Marc Jackson and Linton Johnson III, was not with the Nets. ... New Jersey has won the last six meetings between the teams and 18 of 21 against New York. ... Francis had a season-high 36 points when he played at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 27. ... The Nets are 26-0 when leading after the third quarter. ... Both teams were wearing throwback uniforms. The Knicks wore uniforms from the 1952-53 season and the Nets wore jerseys from the 1975-76 season.

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