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Kidd outshines Harris as Mavericks run past Nets

Feb 19, 2009 - 6:06 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Devin Harris' second trip back to his old home didn't go much better than the first.

In his second reunion with the Dallas Mavericks on his former home floor, Harris struggled throughout the night and, more tellingly, his team was run out of the gym by Jason Kidd en route to a 113-98 triumph for the Mavs.

The two point guards were traded for each other last February and met head-to-head at the American Airlines Center just two weeks later. Dallas came away with an easy 20-point victory.

"It's over and done with, it's been a year now. Both teams are moving in the right direction," Harris said. "I don't think one team got the better end of the trade. ... Obviously J-Kidd is a Hall of Famer and I'm up and coming, and both teams are going in the right direction. Do I care now? No."

This one was more of the same - for the second half, at least. The Nets held a three-point edge at halftime, but the Mavericks roared ahead in the third quarter to take control for good. With New Jersey holding a two-point edge, Kidd's 3-pointer kicked off an explosive, 8 1/2-minute stretch to close the quarter as Dallas opened up a 22-point advantage.

"I think for us defensively, you know we gave up 56 points in the first half and coach thought that we didn't play ... that we were going through the motions," Kidd said. "So he gave us an inspiring speech and we came together then on the defensive end, and it helped us on the offensive end as well. Our defense definitely helped our offense."

Kidd found Howard for a jumper with just under eight minutes to play to give the Mavericks the lead for good - but they weren't satisfied with just sliding by. They got more and more aggressive as the quarter moved along, pulling ahead by double digits as Howard knocked down two free throws and connected from the arc.

"We want to make (Kidd) score. We want to double up and make him be as much as a scorer as possible," Harris said. "But they're shooting the three extremely well and when he's shooting that well, they're very good."

Antoine Wright continued to provide a boost in the absence of injured guard Jason Terry, scoring 20 points and knocking down four 3-pointers.

"Tonight, the 3-point shot was huge for us because he hit timely 3s and he's hit quite a few of those in recent games," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Tonight was one of those nights where you could see the fruits of his labor. It was huge for us because that's not an easy team to play."

Kidd took his backcourt counterpart to the hole on consecutive possessions, drawing contact and draining two free throws the first time and finishing strong with a layup 30 seconds later. He capped his big period with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 90-70.

"Third quarter, right from the beginning, they turned it up a notch," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We turned it over right from the beginning. We'd shoot a bunch of jump shots and it took us a while to get re-oriented."

The veteran point guard finished with 23 points and 10 assists, hitting 5-of-6 attempts from the arc. He thoroughly outplayed Harris, who misfired on all six of his attempts from long range and managed just 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

Howard led the way for the Mavericks with 24 points and 10 boards, while Dirk Nowitzki added 23.

"It was a really important game for us because coming off the break," Carlisle said. "The first game is always a challenge from the standpoint of physical conditioning and everything. We had a good practice yesterday which set the tone for some success tonight. But our first half was poor defensively and we needed to be better in the second half, and we were."