EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Returning home for a game against
the NBA's worst road team was all the New Jersey Nets needed to end
their post-All-Star break blues.
Kerry Kittles scored 21 points and the Nets snapped a two-game
losing skid with a 90-72 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday
"That's the thing about this league is that there are so many
games,'' said Kittles, who was 10-for-18 from the field. "You tend
to not play up to your capabilities every single night. You don't
panic. You just try to correct things. Tonight we took it upon
ourselves to say we're a better team than how we've been playing.''
Richard Jefferson added 20 points as the Nets improved their
NBA-best home record to 23-2 by taking advantage of the Bulls' woes
away from the United Center.
The loss was Chicago's eighth straight overall, eighth in a row
on the road and 27th in 29 road games.
"It's tough, it's really tough. This is a tough time of the
year,'' Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said. "We're going to have to
get tougher. We'll go back to work tomorrow.''
The Nets, beaten by Orlando and Memphis earlier this week,
weren't overly impressive, but they didn't have to be in a game in
which Chicago shot 33.3 percent, committed 23 turnovers and got 38
points from its starting five.
"I told the guys that's what we're supposed to do each and
every night,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said. "That's the way we're
supposed to play defense. Obviously, all the things we have to work
on aren't cured.''
New Jersey, which handed the Grizzlies a win Wednesday by
scoring a franchise-low eight first-quarter points, won this one by
outscoring the Bulls 25-14 in the opening period.
The Nets, who never allowed Chicago to get closer than five
points, blew the game open with a 19-8 third-quarter spurt that
featured Jason Kidd setting up Kittles and Jefferson for easy
Kidd had five of his 12 assists during the run, including a
length-of-the-court pass and an alley-oop pass that set up Kittles
for a fast-break layup and a dunk. Jefferson did the brunt of the
scoring in the quarter with 11 points as New Jersey led by as many
Jalen Rose, frustrated all game by a lack of calls from the
officials, finished with 13 points -- 10 below his average. Jay
Williams, who had a triple-double when the Bulls beat New Jersey in
Chicago earlier this season, also had 13 in his second return to
his home state.
"Today was straight from the door,'' Chicago forward Donyell
Marshall said. "Turnovers, from the door, stupid turnovers. It's
just not thinking.''
New Jersey never trailed after Kittles hit a jumper early in a
10-point first-quarter run that gave it a 12-4 lead.
The Nets are perfect on Fridays, with a 12-0 record. ...
Nets power forward Kenyon Martin did not play because of a sore
knee. Brian Scalabrine started and had eight points and six
rebounds. ... New Jersey has won four straight at home against
Chicago, the first time that's happened since the mid-1980s. ...
The Nets lead the season series 2-1. The teams close out the series
at Chicago on April 11. ... Nets forward Rodney Rogers was
activated from the injured list after missing 13 games with a
strained calf. He had eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds.