- Associated Press - Thursday, December 16, 2010

NEWARK, N.J. | Devin Harris knew that facing the Washington Wizards, a team without a road victory this season, was the best opportunity for the New Jersey Nets to snap their eight-game losing streak — and he had to be the one to do something about it.

“This was one we had to have,” said Harris, who called a team meeting before the game, then went out and had 29 points and nine assists in the Nets‘ 97-89 victory Thursday night. “If I’m going to be the guy here, then it’s all about being aggressive and making things happen.”

Harris connected on 14 of 17 from the free throw line, including six straight over the final 1:30 to help the Nets (7-19) win for the first time in December and send the Wizards (6-18) to their 13th straight road loss.

“It’s not the way we wanted to win,” Harris said. “We had to scratch and claw for everything. We have to be able to get it any way we can. This is the way we have to play.”

Nets coach Avery Johnson appreciated the way Harris took charge of the team, both before and during the game.

“He had a little team meeting with the guys and the guys responded,” Johnson said of Harris. “Devin took charge on both ends of the floor for us. We need Devin to play like this. We need Devin to take shots.”

Harris was only 7 of 25 from the field, but made the plays down the stretch.

“We needed a little bit of a change,” said Nets center Brook Lopez, who added 18 points. “We needed to hold ourselves accountable a little. We’re all sick of losing.”

The Wizards played without top overall draft pick John Wall and forward Andray Blatche, both of whom sat out the game with knee problems.

The Nets, who led by 23 points in the second quarter, got 12 points and 17 rebounds from Kris Humphries, the fourth straight game he collected 10 or more boards.

“We didn’t play perfect and choked up a big lead,” Humphries said. “But we all knew that we couldn’t be up 20 points and lose this one. We had to have a sense of urgency.”

Reserve Nick Young led the Wizards with 22 points, while Gilbert Arenas had 19 and Al Thornton added 18.

The Nets used a 19-2 run to take a 22-6 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter. Lopez had nine points during that stretch.

The Nets extended their lead to 48-25 on a driving reverse layup by Jordan Farmar with 4:46 left in the first half. Farmar and Harris started together in the backcourt for the first time this season, due to the hamstring injury of usual starting shooting guard Anthony Morrow.

The 23-point lead was the biggest New Jersey has enjoyed at any stage of a game this season.

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