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Hot-shooting Bobcats cool off Kidd, Nets

Jan 9, 2008 - 4:23 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson scored 25 points to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to a 115-99 victory over the visiting New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.

Charlotte cooled off one of the hottest teams in the East with a hot night of its own from the field. The Bobcats shot a season-best 59 percent (44-of-75) from the floor en route to a season high for points scored.

The Bobcats put six players in double figures for the first time this season with Gerald Wallace adding 21 points and 11 rebounds. Raymond Felton, Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed each added 17 for the Bobcats.

"It was a big game for us because we got it going early," Richardson said. "We know we've been struggling toward the end of games and we finally got a win after playing well the first three quarters."

"The post play was fantastic tonight," Charlotte coach Sam Vincent said. "When we get this kind of play out of the post from our guys, we probably would win a lot of games."

The sizzling shooting helped derail the Nets, who had their five-game winning streak snapped despite another triple-double from Jason Kidd.

Kidd became the first player in 11 seasons to record three straight triple-doubles. The 34-year-old point guard posted 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for the 97th of his career.

"We should have found a way to win this game," Kidd said. "The triple-double doesn't mean anything unless we win."

Charlotte led by eight points after the first quarter and blew the game open in the second, leading by fewer than 10 points just once in the second half.

After the Nets cut their deficit to five, Richardson scored Charlotte's first seven points of the second quarter to give the Bobcats a 38-26 advantage and they never looked back.

"I didn't do a good job on Jason Richardson early in the game," Nets forward Richard Jefferson said. "And he really set a tone for them."

The Bobcats took a 21-point lead - the largest of the game - on a basket by Jeff McInnis with 2:56 left in half to make it 54-33. The Nets fought back to trim the deficit to 11, but Felton drained a shot from the arc at the buzzer to send Charlotte to the locker room with a 59-45 edge.

After a pair of free throws from Jefferson cut New Jersey's deficit to 70-58 in the third quarter, Charlotte went on an 8-1 capped by a fast-break dunk by Wallace, which forced a timeout by the Nets.

New Jersey responded with a 10-2 run of its own, capped by a pair of free throws by Kidd before Felton again ended the quarter with a basket to give Charlotte an 86-74 lead heading into the final period.

"We are very proud (of tonight's win)," Richardson said. "We've had a lot of games like this that we would have lost, where we've been up in the first three quarters and it seemed like we would find a way to lose. It shows a little growth of this team to go out there and start and finish the game on a good note."

The Nets trimmed the lead to single digits, 86-77, to open the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer from Bostjan Nachbar. However, Charlotte responded with four quick points to push the lead again to double figures and led by at least 10 for the rest of the contest.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Charlotte, which also won for just the second time in nine tries.

Jefferson scored 25 points and Vince Carter added 17 for the Nets.

"Defensively, we didn't bring forth the type of effort and intensity required to win a game," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "They were a determined team that played very well and aggressive and they deserved to win the game."

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