ALBANY, N.Y. - Rodney Rogers had a better debut than Dikembe Mutombo for their new team, scoring 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead the New Jersey Nets past Cleveland 93-85 Wednesday night.
The Carlos Boozer Archive
Rogers, signed as a free agent over the summer by the defending Eastern Conference champions, made two big plays late in the game. First, he drew an offensive foul on Darius Miles to keep the Nets ahead by five points, then grabbed an offensive rebound and hit two foul shots for a 91-84 lead.
Mutombo did little offensively in 23 minutes, missing all three of his shots and grabbing four rebounds with three assists.
"I think I did a great job," Mutombo said. "I put the ball into the hands of the guy I needed to.
Mutombo also had some trouble stopping Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was 7-for-11 from the field and had 15 points.
"You can't always go on box scores," Nets guard Jason Kidd said. "How many shots did he alter? How many assists did he have? Some nights he's going to have big numbers, some nights he's not."
The majority of Cleveland's offense ran through Miles, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers over the summer in a trade for Andre Miller. Miles, running plays from both the low post and outside, finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ricky Davis added 17 points for Cleveland.
"I liked what he did in the post, and I'm going to play him all over the court to help in his development," Cavs coach John Lucas said. "I liked a lot of the things he did."
Cleveland's No. 1 draft pick, Dajuan Wagner, did not travel with the team because of abdominal cramps.
Cleveland's top second-round pick, 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer Jr., finished with six points on 2-for-2 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 shooting from the free-throw line. Boozer grabbed five rebounds and had one steal in 27 minutes off the bench.
Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and Kerry Kittles added 13 for the Nets.