Winning streak is second-longest in team history

MIAMI (AP) -- Richard Jefferson had another strong game, and that
meant a victory for the New Jersey Nets.

Jefferson scored 26 points and Jason Kidd added 13 points and 13
assists as the Nets won their eighth straight by defeating the
Miami Heat 100-80 Friday night.

The Atlantic Division-leading Nets are 7-0 when Jefferson scores
at least 20 points. New Jersey beat Portland 105-104 on Dec. 11
when Jefferson had 22, but in the other six games the Nets won by
an average of 19.7 points.

"I've been struggling on the road, but myself and my teammates
have plenty of confidence," said Jefferson, who was 10-of-14 from
the field. "It was good coming out getting a breakout game."

Lucious Harris added 16 points for the Nets and Kenyon Martin
had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

New Jersey's winning streak is the second-longest in club
history. The 1982-83 team won 11 in a row. The Nets haven't lost
since Dec. 17 at New York, and their 24-9 start is the best ever
for the club.

"We've been playing great basketball of late," said Nets coach
Byron Scott. "We played a very good team tonight and did a good
job on both ends of the floor."

With Boston's loss to Portland, the Nets moved 4½ games in front
of the Celtics in the division.

"We're back in first place, and we just want to stay there,"
Martin said. "It's been a long time coming."

Rasual Butler scored 12 points and Caron Butler added 11, but
they were the only players in double figures for the Heat, which
had won three straight. Vladimir Stepania had 10 rebounds.

"We just got off to a horrible start," Miami coach Pat Riley
said. "They just jumped right on top of us with their quickness
and energy. They went right through us in every category. I just
hope this is one of those games, and we need to bounce back."

The Heat couldn't keep the game close in the second half as the
Nets outran them and took them out of their defense. New Jersey
shot 58.2 percent to Miami's 38.2 percent.

"They just kept moving, moving, moving," said the Heat's Brian
Grant, who was ejected along with New Jersey's Jason Collins for
fighting in the third quarter. "We made a little run and then they
broke it open."

Miami guard Eddie Jones, the team's leading scorer in 18 of its
previous 31 games, limped off with a sprained right ankle after
getting his foot tangled in Jefferson's legs less than five minutes
into the game. Jones returned midway through the second period but
finished with just seven points.

"I landed on someone's foot and turned it over," Jones said.
"I came back in the game but didn't have that spring in my step. I
felt a lot of pain."

New Jersey built an 18-point lead early in the game and took a
28-12 lead at the end of the first period. Miami switched to a zone
defense at the start of the second and went on runs of 8-0 and 13-2
to make it 33-28. The Nets built their lead back to 15 points,
54-39, at the half.

Game notes
The Heat are 0-8 when opponents score 100 points or more.
... The Nets are a league-best 18-1 at home but just 6-8 on the
road. ... The Nets began a three-game road swing and play 10 of
next 12 on the road. ... Miami's Eddie House played after missing
the previous nine games. He had seven points and four rebounds. ...
Miami's Mike James had nine points in his first career start.


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