EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- After trailing by as many as 23
points in each of their previous three games, the New Jersey Nets
had a sense of urgency Sunday in facing the Chicago Bulls.
Some of the less-heralded members of the Nets directed the
Eastern Conference leaders back on track.
Jason Collins scored 17 points and matched a career-high with 12
rebounds, and Lucious Harris scored 16 points in the fourth quarter
to lead the Nets to a 92-84 victory over the Bulls.
"Since we were down 20 the last few games, I knew we had to
come out aggressive," said Collins, who entered the game averaging
just 3.6 points. "I think we all had that aggressive mindset to
start the game. If I'm open, I know Jason (Kidd) is going to find
me. I know it's not how it always is."
Kenyon Martin added 15 points, and Kerry Kittles and Keith Van
Horn each scored 14 as New Jersey snapped a two-game losing streak
and extended its home winning streak to five games.
The Nets have beaten the Bulls in four consecutive games for the
first time since 1982.
Collins, starting in place of the injured Todd MacCulloch,
scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half as New Jersey seized
the lead in the opening minutes and never looked back.
Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said his team didn't guard Collins
"I thought Jason Collins killed us early," Cartwright said.
"I was disappointed that our big guys were allowing that guy to
Harris got some open looks down the stretch, helping the Bulls
cut New Jersey's lead to 83-78 with 3:13 left.
"It felt like college, with all the zone being played out
there," said Harris, who is averaging 9.5 points. "But I had a
chance to hit the open shots, and that's what our offense is
designed to do. If I'm that open, I have to make something
Martin got a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul, his
sixth of the season, when he tried to run through a pick set by
rookie Eddy Curry in the third quarter.
Nets coach Byron Scott said he didn't agree with the call.
"Kenyon was hit a couple of times and then went back," Scott
said. "It was a hard foul, but not flagrant. We'll take a look at
it. I'll talk to Stu (Jackson, the NBA's director of operations)
and see what direction we'll go in."
Although New Jersey's MacCulloch is eligible to come off
the injured list in time for the game Tuesday against the Lakers, no
decision has been made whether he'll be activated. MacCulloch, who
has plantar fasciitis in his left foot, shot free throws during
practice Saturday. ... Kidd had nine assists, five points and five
rebounds. He only took five shots from the field.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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