Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/12

Game 1: Wednesday, February 12th
Game 2: Saturday, March 22nd

Nets 107

(42-27, 28-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 22, 2003

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 29 14 32 2499
    NJ 35 29 21 22107

    Top Performers

    Memphis: J. Williams 24 Pts, 11 Ast

    New Jersey: K. Kittles 25 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl

    Nets pass Grizzlies on Kidd's season-high 18 assists

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- After setting a dubious franchise record by scoring only eight first-quarter points in their last game against Memphis, the New Jersey Nets made sure they started strong this time.



    Kerry Kittles had 25 points, Jason Kidd added a season-high 18 assists and the Nets rode a 64-point first half to a 107-99 victory over the Grizzlies on Saturday night.

    "This was a good win for us,'' coach Byron Scott said. "This team embarrassed us last time we played them. I thought when we started the game, we had a lot of energy.''

    The Nets shot 78 percent from the field (14-of-18) in the first quarter in taking a six-point lead and increased the margin to 21 by halftime in avenging the 97-90 loss on Feb. 12.

    That loss was the Nets' second straight after the All-Star break and started them on an 8-12 spiral.

    "We haven't played well the second half and that was one of our worst games,'' said Kidd, who added 14 points and six rebounds. "This part of the season, this part of the schedule, we have take care of business and win every game we play in.''

    The Nets have a lot at stake. They hold a 1 game lead over idle Philadelphia in the race for first place in the Atlantic Division, and they trail Detroit by the same margin in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

    Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson added 17 points apiece for the Nets, which held a 49-29 edge in rebounding.

    Jason Williams had six 3-pointers, 24 points and 11 assists for the Grizzlies, who lost their third straight on the road and for the 28th time in 35 games away from Memphis.

    Pau Gasol added 21 points for Memphis, which is still 12-9 since the All-Star break.

    "We tried to prepare our guys for their urgency and the fact they are fighting for a division title,'' Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. "We knew their energy would be right at maximum. Unfortunately for us, we had one of our worst defensive efforts in the first half.''

    The Nets shot 14-for-18 from the field and 7-of-8 on free throws in taking a 35-29 first-quarter lead.

    The key for the Nets was their easy points. They hit only two jumpers in the quarter and got 20 points in the paint, including eight on the fast break.

    Kittles had 16 points and Kidd had 12 assists in the first half as New Jersey shot 67.6 percent and opened a 64-43 lead.

    "We wanted to let this team know we're a much better team than what they faced earlier,'' said Kittles, who had a season-high 11 rebounds and shot 10-for-15.

    Memphis still made the Nets sweat a little in the second half.

    Williams hit four of the Grizzlies' six 3-pointers in the third quarter to close the lead to 85-75, and Memphis got within 104-97 on a basket by Lorenzen Wright with 1:17 to play.

    Kidd then found Jason Collins for a layup with his 18th assist to put the game away.

    Kidd's previous season high for assists was 16 against Philadelphia on Jan. 15. His career high is 25. The Nets' record is 29 by Kevin Porter in 1978.

    "I'm sure they felt like we stole one from them in Memphis, and since they are playing for home-court advantage they need every win they can get,'' Williams said.

    Game notes

    Center Dikembe Mutombo is practicing with the Nets again and hopes to be back in a week. He has not played since tearing ligaments in his right wrist in November and undergoing surgery. ...After three straight games without a turnover, Williams had four ... Rodney Rogers, who didn't play in the Nets' loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday, had eight points in 17 minutes. ... Grizzlies forward Stromile Swift sprained his right thumb and did not play the final 18-plus minutes. He had nine points. ...New Jersey shot 54.1 percent (40 of 74).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 107
    FGM-FGA 40-86 (.465) 40-74 (.541)
    3PM-3PA 10-20 (.500) 1-5 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 9-13 (.692) 26-33 (.788)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-29 11-49
    Assists 22 32
    Turnovers 13 18
    Steals 7 8
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 3 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Jason Williams Williams
    Points: 24
    Reb: 0
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Kerry Kittles Kittles
    Points: 25
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0