Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Wednesday, November 6th
Game 2: Friday, December 27th
Game 3: Saturday, December 28th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 19th

Bucks 90

(12-16, 4-11 away)

Nets 110

(21-9, 17-1 home)

    8:00 PM ET, December 27, 2002

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 26 27 17 2090
    NJ 26 34 26 24110

    Top Performers

    Mil: S. Cassell 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast

    NJ: L. Harris 25 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Harris might make Kittles' return a non-event

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Lucious Harris is playing so well it might be tough for Kerry Kittles to get back into the New Jersey Nets' starting lineup.

    Lucious Harris

    Lucious Harris pulls up for two of his season-high 25 points for the Nets.

    Harris scored a season-high 25 points and the Nets rolled to their 12th consecutive home victory with a 110-90 decision over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

    ''Lucious is one of the most underrated players in the league,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said after his team won for the 17th time in 18 games in the Continental Airlines Arena.

    ''I have been saying this all along -- Lucious does everything pretty well,'' Scott said. ''There is nothing negative about the way he plays basketball.''

    Not only is Harris good on offense, he's just as good on defense. Besides hitting 9-for-15 from the field, he limited Milwaukee's Ray Allen to 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting in 27 minutes.

    Harris' play as the Nets' shooting guard is making Scott reconsider his lineup. Kittles is getting closer to returning from a sprained knee and the coach must decide whether to keep Harris as a starter or give the job back to Kittles, who held it all last season.

    ''Right now, I'm having fun,'' said Harris, who moved into the starting lineup 13 games ago. ''The team is having success. That's the decision they've got to make. I'm glad I'm making it hard for them.''

    Harris has averaged more than 17 points as a starter.

    ''I have known him for some time, and once he gets his feet set he can shoot with the best of them,'' said Nets point guard Jason Kidd, who added 10 points, nine assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes.

    Kenyon Martin had 21 points and Rodney Rogers added 13 points for the Nets, who had six players in double figures.

    Former Net Sam Cassell had 25 points for the struggling Bucks, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.

    ''We didn't get any stops in the second half,'' Cassell said. ''They scored on the first eight possessions. You can't win like that, not on the road anyway.''

    Forced to play a half-court game instead of their usual transition style, the Nets responded by hitting a season-high 54.8 percent from the field in moving to a victory of tying their team record for home triumphs. The mark was set last year when New Jersey won its first Eastern Conference title.

    The Bucks, who beat the Nets earlier this season in Milwaukee, made New Jersey work for 24 minutes to extend its overall five-game winning streak.

    Cassell hit a 35-footer at the buzzer to tie it at 26 after the first quarter.

    The Nets got a little breathing room when Harris scored seven in a row and Martin hit a shot at the buzzer to give New Jersey a 60-53 lead at the half.

    New Jersey used its defense and the quick spurt to take command in the third quarter, outscoring the Bucks 26-17.

    Martin, who shot 9-for-13 from the field, ignited the quarter with slams on the break off feeds from Kidd and Harris. That matched New Jersey's fastbreak total for the first half.

    Milwaukee cut the Nets' lead to 71-64 on a fastbreak basket by Thomas.

    Harris hit a layup and a floater and jumper to ignite a 10-0 run that gave New Jersey an 81-64 lead.

    Milwaukee never threatened the rest of the way.

    Game notes

    The teams will play again Saturday in Milwaukee ... Nets center Jason Collins set a career high with six assists ... The Nets have beaten the Bucks at New Jersey three consecutive times ... Nets fan favorite Brian Scalabrine had a season-high eight points. ... New Jersey is 11-1 when it scores at least 100 points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 110
    FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 40-73 (.548)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 7-11 (.636)
    FTM-FTA 15-21 (.714) 23-36 (.639)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-34 9-38
    Assists 19 28
    Turnovers 12 13
    Steals 8 5
    Blocks 7 6
    Fast Break Points 1 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (1/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Sam Cassell Cassell
    Points: 25
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Lucious Harris Harris
    Points: 25
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1