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New Jersey wins third in a row

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- It's been a long time since the New
Jersey Nets have been able to laugh after a game.

"I can hear the fireworks going off now," Jason Kidd
deadpanned after the Nets shot a season-best 55.1 percent and
routed the Seattle SuperSonics 101-88 on Tuesday night for their
first three-game winning streak of the season.

Richard Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points, Kenyon Martin
had 25 and the reawakened Nets showed signs of putting to rest the
early-season slump that placed coach Byron Scott's job security in

"We're not there yet, but we are getting better," said Scott,
who has led the Nets to consecutive Eastern Conference titles.

Kidd had 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in just three

The Nets led by 32 points before the regulars left a game in
which Martin and Jefferson combined to hit 22 of 31 shots from the

"It's hard to beat us when both of us are going and J. Kidd is
going up and down the court," Martin said.

Ronald Murray had 27 points for Seattle, which has lost three in
a row and seven of 10. The only thing that prevented a season-worst
loss was an 18-0 run to end the game.

"We found each other at the beginning of the year but then we
lost it," Murray said. "It's a matter of time until we get our
rhythm back and start clicking."

The loss didn't sit well with coach Nate McMillan, who waited
nearly 15 minutes to come out of the locker room after the game.

"We're searching right now," he said. "We are struggling and
not playing well. The confidence of our group right now is down. We
are a young group searching for an identity."

The Nets, who shot 56 percent in the first half, were even
better in the third quarter. They hit 12 of 19 shots from the field
(63.2 percent) and broke the game open with a 20-6 spurt that
Martin started with a running 7-footer.

Martin, who hit 12 of 18 shots from field -- including nine
straight from late in the first quarter to near the end of the
third, also had consecutive alley-oop slams off Kidd's feeds and a
16-foot jumper during the 20-6 run that gave New Jersey a 75-55

Jefferson was even better. He shot 10-of-13 from the field,
including two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter that pushed
the led to 97-67.

"I have always said when those two forwards are playing their
A-game, I think we are one of the best teams in this league," Kidd

This was the Nets' second straight blowout against the
SuperSonics and their first season sweep since the 1988-89 season.
They posted a 93-70 win in Seattle on Nov. 25, a game in which New
Jersey limited the Sonics to a franchise-low 25 points in the
second half.

Martin also dominated that game with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

The SuperSonics only trailed by seven at the half because they
hit eight 3-pointers. Seattle actually shot better from beyond the
arc than inside, going 50 percent from long range and 33 percent (9
of 27) from two-point range.

Game notes
Seattle started Vitaly Potapenko at center instead of
Jerome James, who did not play. ... New Jersey's average home
attendance of 13,935 is the second worst in the league to Orlando's
13,803. ... Cincinnati Reds star Ken Griffey Jr. was at the game.
... The Nets outscored Seattle 50-24 in the paint. ... The Sonics
finished 12-of-26 from 3-point range.


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