Harris shines as Nets spoil Kidd's return to New JerseyDec 20, 2008 - 5:30 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd returned to the Meadowlands on Friday night for the first time since being dealt by the New Jersey Nets - and he got a good look at their return on the high-profile trade.
Devin Harris had 41 points and 13 assists to help the Nets spoil Kidd's return to his old stomping grounds and cruise to a 121-97 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
"There was a little something extra in the tank tonight," Harris said.
Vince Carter added 34 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Yi Jianlian contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets.
Kidd spent 6 1/2 seasons with the Nets and helped them to consecutive Eastern Conference titles before being traded to Dallas last season for a package that included Harris. He had 17 points and seven assists in his first trip back to the IZOD Center since the deal.
"The first time I was in New Jersey, that's what the crowd looked like - 3,000 people," said Kidd, who was given an extended standing ovation upon being announced in the starting lineup before the game. "That was the first thought. And then all the good and bad times we had. We had a lot of great games here in 'The Swamp.'"
The new-look Nets have overhauled virtually their entire roster in short order, ending the era when Kidd, Carter and current Milwaukee Bucks forward Richard Jefferson gave New Jersey its identity.
"I did everything I could here," Kidd said. "To show the other team? That was all done last year. The trade has nothing to do with anything (now). Business is business. I was thankful that the (fans) appreciated the job I did while I was here."
Kidd, with help from Jefferson, led the Nets to losing efforts in back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003, while Carter joined them 13 games into the 2004-05 season.
Picked to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference by many, the Nets are off to a better-than-expected 13-12 start behind Harris and Carter, but had been a brutal 4-8 at home before Friday.
"I think anybody would be lying if they didn't want to play well against their old team," Harris said. "We got the energy that we so desperately needed (at home). With a game like this, there is going to be added emotion no matter what.
"(Kidd's) first game back with the crowd and what-not, obviously with me leaving the (Mavericks)... it really wasn't a personal matchup."
The crowd, announced at 9,889 but significantly smaller due to inclement weather, chanted "Thank you, Cuban," to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban late in the game when Harris was removed. The playful Cuban, seated behind his team's bench, encouraged the crowd by putting his hand to his ear.
"I guess if you don't care about your own team you talk about someone on the other team," Cuban said. "I guess that's what Nets fans are all about. It was pretty funny. I think the goal of everybody in New Jersey is to be a general manger. So I can understand why they would want to share their expertise.
"The good news is it's fun that there's rivalries, it's fun that it increases interest and it's fun that people get excited about it. But in reality, it's one game."
Dirk Nowitzki poured in 24 points to pace the Mavericks, who have dropped two of their last three contests.
Despite snow and ice storms in the area limiting attendance, New Jersey was spurred on in its own building by Harris and Carter, who had 26 and 19 points, respectively, in the first half as the Nets build a 64-51 cushion.
"There was a lot of energy in the arena," Carter said. "We were glad to see the fans come out regardless of the snow out there. It's a lot more fun to come out and compete like we did tonight. It was a great game to be a part of."
"It was nice - the weather was great, we played no defense," Kidd quipped.
Harris broke the 40-point barrier for the second time this season, missing his career high by six, and he and Carter each scored 30 or more in the same game for the second time. Harris (eight) and Carter (five) have a combined 13 games scoring 30 or more points this season.
Kidd made a pair of free throws with 3:33 left in the first half to close Dallas within 50-48, but Carter countered with a driving layup to kick off a 12-0 run. Harris canned a pair of free throws, then he and Carter hit 3-pointers before rookie Brook Lopez capped the burst with a layup to make it 62-48 with 1:21 left.
Dallas got as close as seven points midway through the third, but by the end of the quarter the Nets' 13-point edge was restored as Harris hit a pair of free throws with a half-second left to make it 90-77.
Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling nailed back-to-back 3-pointers in a 23-second span early in the fourth to extend the lead to 98-80.
New Jersey was never in trouble thereafter thanks to its 48-percent shooting effort (44-of-91) from the field.
Dallas shot 42 percent (32-of-77) and was blown out despite converting 25-of-29 (86 percent) attempts from the line.
"We can't do that," Mavericks guard Jason Terry said. "If we do that against Washington (on Sunday), we'll be looking at another loss. So you think about it tonight, sleep on it. Tomorrow is a new day. Come back refreshed knowing there is a new challenge ahead."
NEW JERSEY 121 FINAL
Dec 19 9:48 PM
NEW JERSEY 90 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 19 9:17 PM
NEW JERSEY 64 HALFTIME
Dec 19 8:38 PM
NEW JERSEY 33 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 19 8:04 PM
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