Kidd's 3rd straight triple-double not enough for Nets

Charlotte 115, Nets 99
January 9, 2008 6:32:40 AM PST
Jason Richardson scored 25 points and the hot-shooting Charlotte Bobcats overcame Jason Kidd's third consecutive triple-double to beat the New Jersey Nets 115-99 on Wednesday night.Gerald Wallace added 21 points and 11 rebounds and Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed added 17 points apiece for the Bobcats, who shot 59 percent in their highest-scoring game of the season. Charlotte snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Nets had their five-game winning streak snapped despite Kidd's 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He became the first player since Detroit's Grant Hill 11 seasons ago to have three straight triple-doubles.

Richard Jefferson had 25 points and Vince Carter scored 17 on 5-of-15 shooting for the Nets, who struggled to defend inside in their worst performance in weeks.

It was much a rare offensive outburst for the Bobcats, who sense their hopes at a first playoff berth in franchise history rest on putting together a winning stretch now before they play 21 of 29 games on the road starting at the end of the month.

The sense of urgency was apparent before the game, when part-owner Michael Jordan made a rare appearance in the locker room and met with coach Sam Vincent in his office about 90 minutes before tipoff.

The Bobcats, who had lost seven of eight games, showed an offensive flow missing for much of the season.

Charlotte took control when Richardson scored 12 points in less than 2 minutes bridging the first and second quarters. Richardson hit a turnaround jumper, a 3-pointer, a baseline jumper, a fadeaway and a 3 while falling out of bounds off the sideline as the Bobcats took a 38-26 lead.

With the Nets missing their first 10 3-point shots and their big men unable to contain Okafor inside, the Bobcats built a 54-33 lead on Jeff McInnis' jumper with 2:58 left.

Kidd then engineered a 12-2 run before Raymond Felton's 3 just before the halftime buzzer made it 59-45.

But unlike in the past two games when the Bobcats have coughed up big leads and lost - including a 13-point lead in Friday's loss at New Jersey - they didn't let the Nets back in thanks to blistering shooting.

Okafor made eight of nine shots and Mohammed was 7-of-8 as the Bobcats continued to pound the ball inside and relied less on 3-pointers, attempting only 11.

But it was Richardson and Wallace who continued to carry the Bobcats. It marked the sixth straight game they've each scored 20 or more points.

That offset the 10th triple-double of the season for Kidd and the 97th of his career as the Nets got no closer than nine points early in the fourth quarter.