CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers did everything possible to lose but still defeated the slumping New Jersey Nets.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 29 points and Jumaine Jones collected 14 and a season-high 12 rebounds as the league-worst Cavaliers held on for a 93-90 triumph over the Nets.
New Jersey tied a season-high with its third straight loss and has lost six of nine games since the All-Star break, including five to teams with losing records.
"Right now I have no answers to be honest," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "The only thing I can say is what I told our guys. We've just got to stay together and keep playing."
The Nets struggled again in this one but nearly rallied to beat Cleveland, which improved to 2-30 against winning teams.
The Cavaliers nearly squandered an 11-point lead in the final period as the Nets pulled within 88-86 on a pair of free throws by Jason Kidd with 80 seconds left. Cleveland's Ricky Davis made 1-of-2 from the line and, after both teams missed 3-pointers, Kidd committed a turnover with 13.7 seconds remaining.
Milt Palacio made two free throws to give the Cavaliers a 93-87 lead with 9.7 seconds remaining, but Anthony Johnson buried a 3-pointer for the Nets.
Cleveland gambled and Jones' inbounds pass to Davis sailed out of bounds with three seconds left.
"Thats a play I shouldn't have made," Jones said. "We should have just gotten the ball in because they had to foul."
"We had a chance to really put the game away by just getting the ball inbounds and getting fouled," Cavs coach Keith Smart said. "That's where we broke down."
New Jersey had a chance to tie but was out of timeouts and Kidd missed a hurried 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"It was great to finish it out," Davis said. "It shows we've grown a little but and we're playing as a team. Maybe a couple weeks ago we would've let them come all the way back and beat us."
"We fought back like we always do but we just couldn't get over the hump," Kidd said. "Those type of games will come back to haunt you."
Davis scored 19 points for the Cavs, who snapped a six-game slide and won for just the third time in 19 games.
"We're working and we're hoping that guys do the things that you want them to do," Smart said. "You work with them daily and in every game to play as a team and sacrifice yourself. That came together tonight."
Kidd had 31 points and nine assists, but his fellow starters combined for just 23 points on 9-of-34 shooting. The Nets played without Kenyon Martin, who was not with the team due to personal reasons.
"Obviously we missed Kenyon big time," Scott said. "We needed somebody else to really step up and we just didn't get it tonight. We didn't have Kenyon and we didn't have anyone who made up for what he does for us."
Richard Jefferson scored 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting and reserves Lucious Harris and Aaron Williams added 12 points apiece for New Jersey, which has lost four straight road games.
"Nobody is discouraged or worried," Kidd said. "It's more or less we what to find an answer. Winning is the best remedy. Once you can pout some games together, all of the stuff you've gone through, losing to teams you shouldn't have, that goes away."
Ilgauskas and Palacio grabbed eight rebounds each as Cleveland took advantage of Martin's absence and held a 51-40 edge on the glass.
The Nets closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run to pull within 67-64 but missed their first 11 shots of the fourth. They missed their first 15 shots in the final period of Sunday's loss to Orlando.
The Cavaliers scored nine of the first 10 points in the final period and took a 76-65 lead on a turnaround jumper by Ilgauskas with 7:35 remaining. Jefferson scored eight points in a span of 79 seconds as the Nets pulled within 78-74.
Ilgauskas scored eight points in the first quarter as Cleveland jumped to a 25-12 lead. New Jersey made just 4-of-20 shots in the opening 12 minutes and were just 9-of-23 in the second quarter.
The Cavaliers had their largest lead 43-26 after a dunk by Davis with 63 seconds left in the first half. They had a 45-31 halftime advantage, holding the Nets to the lowest total for an opponent this season.