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Bulls held to six points in third, season-low 68

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- There's another side to the
much-improved New Jersey Nets. Not only can they play an uptempo
game with Jason Kidd, they showed the Chicago Bulls they can play
defense, too.

Todd MacCulloch had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Nets tied
two team records for defense by holding Chicago to six
third-quarter points in a 100-68 win Tuesday night.

The six points tied the Nets' record for fewest points allowed
in a quarter, set against Boston on Jan. 9, 1990. The 68 points
tied a franchise mark for the fewest points allowed in a game.
Charlotte also scored 68 on Jan. 13, 1998.

"This was a very dangerous game, probably our most dangerous
game of the year," said Nets forward Keith Van Horn, who added 19
points and 10 rebounds. "We get in at 7 a.m the night before and
have to play a team that's not going well. Games like this are
tough. We understood that and didn't take them lightly."

Coming off a nine-day, five-game West Coast road trip, it might
have been easy for the Nets to overlook the Bulls. They had won
only once in 12 games and were winless in nine straight.

"We knew this was a tough game," Nets coach Byron Scott said.
"You are coming off that road trip and a lot of times that game is
the toughest one. I have to give our guys a lot of credit."

The Nets led almost from the start. They put the game away in
the third quarter, limiting the Bulls to 3-of-18 shooting from the

The six points in the quarter also tied the Bulls' record for
fewest points scored, set on Nov. 6, 1993 against Miami.

That was in the season after Michael Jordan retired for the
first time. Those Bulls had Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc and some
other good players. This Chicago team has almost no talent.

"I can't name one player who did anything right," said Bulls
center Brad Miller, who tied for team-high honors with 13 points.

"In the third quarter, we just couldn't get anything down,"
added Chicago coach Tim Floyd, whose team is winless in nine road
games and off to a 1-12 start for the third straight year. "We
have to get cheap baskets. We can't rise up and get jump shots."

The 68 points was a season low for Chicago, which also got 13
points from Marcus Fizer.

The victory gave the Nets a 10-5 record, their best start since
1997-98, the only time they have made the playoffs in the last
seven years. It was witnessed by a crowd of 5,234 -- the Nets'
smallest of the year. Last season, New Jersey didn't win its 10th
game until Jan. 2.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak.

"We needed a win," said MacCulloch, who shot 8-of-17 from the
field in posting his fourth double-double. "We needed to get back
on track. We didn't finish the trip well and we knew we have to
take care of our home court."

Kerry Kittles had 10 of his 14 points in the big third quarter
and Jason Kidd had 12 points and eight assists for the Nets.

With Kidd shooting 5-of-7 and scoring all his points, the Nets
took a 28-21 lead after the first quarter. The margin grew to 10 at
halftime, and then New Jersey put the game away in the third
quarter, outscoring Chicago 24-6.

Chicago hit two baskets in the opening 1:49 and then made only
one more shot the rest of the way in being outscored 21-2. The
Bulls shot 3-of-18, or 16.7 percent.

Kittles started a 17-0 run with 9:49 to go, hitting a jumper.
Greg Anthony finally ended the run with a driving layup with 2:37
to go to make the score 72-48.

Reserves played the fourth quarter.

Game notes
Nets rookie forward Richard Jefferson missed his third
straight game with a sprained knee. ... Former Princeton C Steve
Goodrich played 20 minutes after being signed by the Nets earlier
in the day. ... The teams split four games last season. ... Ron
Mercer, who leads the Bulls in scoring with a 17.4 average, had
four points on 2-of-11 shooting. MacCulloch's 13 rebounds tied his
career best...

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