Friday , Jan , 05 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Nets overcome bad start, edge Bulls

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Jason Kidd hit a pair of clutch baskets
in the final minute of play, as the New Jersey Nets rallied past the Chicago
Bulls 91-86 at Continental Airlines Arena.

Kidd ended with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who
overcame an 18-0 deficit to start the game to win for the third straight time.
Vince Carter had a team-high 21 points and Richard Jefferson added 18 points
for New Jersey, which has won 10 straight at home against the Bulls.

Luol Deng had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Chicago, which has dropped two
straight. Andres Nocioni added 19 points for the Bulls, who scored only two
points during the final three-plus minutes of the game.

After Kirk Hinrich’s jumper with 3:09 left in the contest gave the Bulls an
84-79 lead, Chicago went on a dry spell and the Nets took advantage. Carter
started a 10-0 run with a dunk at the 2:49 mark. Later, his jumper with 1:31
left gave the Nets the lead for good, 85-84.

It was Kidd, though, who came through with a couple of key baskets. First, he
picked the pocket of Ben Gordon and converted a breakaway layup with 52
seconds left. Then, with 18 seconds remaining, he hit a circus-type behind the
head runner while going across the lane to increase the lead to 89-84.

“I didn’t want to take the shot until there was two or three seconds left on
the shot clock,” said Kidd. “I thought if I drove I could find some one open,
but nobody came to me so I just threw it up hoping it would hit the rim and
kill some time.”

Chicago drew within 89-86, but Ben Wallace’s putback of a Hinrich missed
runner with 11 seconds left was waived off because of offensive goaltending.
Replays showed that the call by the officials was wrong, denying Chicago of
the chance to draw within one point.

“It was a botched up dunk that was good,” said Wallace. “We’ve got to do a
better job of finishing off games.”

Hinrich ended with 13 points and eight assists for Chicago, which hasn’t won
in New Jersey since April 17, 2001.

“Winning gives you confidence,” said Carter. “Now we feel we can win games in
the fourth if we can stay close.”

The Bulls jumped out to an 18-0 lead to start the game thanks to hot shooting
from Nocioni and Deng. Nocioni had seven points and Deng, who ended the run
with a layup at the 6:29 mark, tallied six during the surge.

New Jersey, though, slowly chipped away, scoring 15 of the next 20 points to
end the quarter down 23-15.

The Nets then drew within 29-27 on a Bostjan Nachbar three-pointer 5:15 into
the second, but didn’t take its first lead until a Carter layup with 3:26 left
in the half broke a 34-34 tie.

Chicago briefly went back ahead on a Gordon three-pointer 12 seconds later and
after an offensive foul on Carter a Nocioni bank shot made it a 39-36 contest.
New Jersey, however, ended the half on a 12-4 run to take a 48-43 lead into
the break.

Game Notes

Chicago fell to 5-11 on the road…New Jersey improved to 10-10 at
home…This was the Nets’ first game of the new year…The Bulls have yet to
win in two contests in the new calendar year…Nachbar ended with 16 points
and six boards…New Jersey improved to 14-18 this season and continue to lead
the Atlantic Division by one-half game over the Raptors.

CHI NJN