Harris scores 21 in Nets debut

Nets 120, Milwaukee 106
February 28, 2008 7:22:51 PM PST
It didn't take Devin Harris long to make the New Jersey Nets and their fans forget about Jason Kidd.Stepping on the court for the first time since being acquired last week in an eight-player trade for Kidd, Harris scored 16 of his 21 points in a spectacular game-changing early spurt that carried New Jersey to a 120-106 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson added 19 points apiece and Bostjan Nachbar scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter to help New Jersey beat the Bucks for the third straight time this season.

As the game wound down, fans started chanting "Dev-in Harris! Dev-in Harris!"

Michael Redd had 33 points, Mo Williams added 24 and Andrew Bogut had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, who had a two-game winning streak snapped in losing for the 25th time in 31 road games.

Harris' debut was everything the Nets could have hoped for after dealing the unhappy Kidd - the guy who led them to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003- to the Dallas Mavericks.

In making the deal, New Jersey gave up one of the best point guards in basketball for a 25-year-old counterpart with a big upside.

Harris' debut was delayed more than a week while he recovered from a sprained left ankle that he hurt playing for the Mavericks in late January. The third-year player practiced with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday and his availability was listed as a game time decision.

The wait was worth it.

Harris got a standing ovation from about a quarter of the crowd when he entered the game with the score tied at 22 with 2:47 left in the first quarter.

Before the period was over, Harris scored the final six points in a 10-1 spurt that had most of the fans on their feet. He also had an assist in the run and should have had another.

His opening 6-plus minutes in the second quarter were just as good as Harris hit two 3-pointers and twice split defenders in the lane for two layups.

By the time he went back to the bench with 5:34 left before halftime, New Jersey had a 50-35 lead.

Redd scored 11 points in the third quarter to get the Bucks to within 91-85.

However, Harris drove down the lane in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter and dunked over Bogut and then added two free throws for a 95-85 lead.

Nachbar put the game away a couple of minutes later, hitting three 3-pointers in scoring 13 consecutive points and pushing the lead to 114-97.

Harris finished 7-of-13 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. He also had five assists in just under 21 minutes.

Josh Boone added 14 points and Marcus Williams, who started at point guard, had 11.