Nets win first game in post-Kidd era

Nets 110, Bulls 102, OT
February 20, 2008 7:52:15 PM PST
Marcus Williams, in his first game as Jason Kidd's temporary replacement at point guard, combined with Richard Jefferson for New Jersey's first 10 points of overtime, and the Nets beat the Chicago Bulls, 110-102, on Wednesday night.Vince Carter led the Nets with a season-high 33 points, though appeared to be grabbing at his hamstring as the game ended. But Williams and Jefferson dominated the overtime on both ends of the floor, helping the Nets to their 13th straight home victory over the Bulls.

Williams scored a season-best 25 points and had a big steal in overtime. Jefferson finished with 24 points and added a big blocked shot in the extra session. Both players had six points in overtime.

The Nets traded Kidd, who led them to two NBA finals appearances, along with Antoine Wright and Malik Allen to Dallas for five players, two first-round picks and cash. With Devin Harris, the centerpiece of the deal from New Jersey's end, unavailable for perhaps two more weeks with a sprained left ankle, Williams will get a chance to run the team for a while.

Trenton Hassell, DeSagana Diop and Maurice Ager all made their Nets debuts, with Hassell coming up with a key steal with just over a minute left in regulation. Keith Van Horn, who hasn't played since the end of the 2005-06 season, met with coach Lawrence Frank earlier Wednesday but may not play at all for the Nets.

Joe Smith scored 17 points for the Bulls and Ben Gordon added 14 in an otherwise poor performance. Luol Deng, who had missed 16 of the last 21 games with left Achilles' tendinits, had 13 points in 18 minutes.

Neither team led by more than four points over the final 9 minutes of regulation. Smith was wide open for a dunk that gave Chicago a 94-93 lead with 52 seconds left, and Carter hit a free throw 3 seconds later to tie it. After a Bulls turnover, Carter missed a jumper, but the Nets' scrambling defense kept the Bulls from getting off a tying shot.

Williams and Jefferson had buckets early in overtime, and the Nets never trailed in those 5 minutes.

Jefferson scored 14 points in the first half and Carter had 13, including a running 3-pointer that beat the buzzer and gave the Nets a 51-44 lead at the break.


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