Nets romp over Kidd and Dallas

December 19, 2008 7:34:42 PM PST
Devin Harris dominated the team that traded him, scoring 41 points and helping the Nets ruin Jason Kidd's return to New Jersey with a 121-97 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. Harris added 13 assists in thoroughly outplaying Kidd, who spent 6½ years in New Jersey before the Nets dealt him to Dallas last February for a package highlighted by Harris, who had his second 40-point game during a breakout season.

He was removed for good after his dazzling performance with 2:11 remaining, with fans chanting "Thank you Cuban!" to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban - who signed off on a trade many think the Nets got the better of.

Vince Carter added 34 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Nets, who improved to just 5-8 at home. Yi Jianlian had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Kidd finished with 17 points and seven assists, but neither he nor his teammates could deal with the quickness of Harris, who recorded his eighth 30-point game, all this season.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and Jason Terry added 23 for the Mavs.

The Nets were a perennial NBA loser and coming off a 26-56 season when they acquired Kidd from Phoenix in the summer of 2001.

They went 52-30 the next season and made the first of two straight trips to the NBA finals behind Kidd, who is their career leader in five statistical categories.

"It was clear that when you go from 26 wins to 52 and get to the finals, there's some kind of a difference maker and it was Jason Kidd," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who spent five seasons as a Nets assistant. "There were a lot of people that said it couldn't be done in New Jersey, that you couldn't ever get to the very top of the NBA and be in a position to get to the finals.

And there's one reason that they were and that's Jason Kidd."

But he became unhappy early last season and the Nets decided it was time to move on without him and were able to get the promising Harris back in return.

Kidd was introduced first and was treated to a long ovation, though not particularly loud because the building was mostly empty on a night when a snowstorm made travel difficult. He waved a couple of times to the crowd but appeared uncomfortable by the long delay before the next starter was announced, motioning with his hand to get things moving.

Harris then scored 15 points and Carter had 14 in the first quarter, leading New Jersey to a 33-30 lead. The lead was two after Kidd made a pair of free throws with 3:33 left in the half, but Harris and Carter hit 3-pointers during a 12-0 spurt that made it 62-48. The Nets led 64-51 at halftime.

Terry's three-point play to open the fourth cut it to 10, but Harris made a layup before Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling made 3-pointers to make it 98-80 with 9:36 remaining and the Mavs weren't able to make much of a dent in the deficit.

Notes: With so many seats unfilled, the Nets allowed fans sitting in the upper section to move to the lower bowl during a second-quarter timeout. ... Nowitzki and Howard entered as the NBA's highest-scoring duo, averaging 47.4 points, with Carter and Harris combining for 46.3 per game to rank second. ... The Nets host Miami on Saturday, the only time this season they play home games on back-to-back nights.