Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 1/2

Game 1: Friday, January 2nd
Game 2: Wednesday, February 11th
Game 3: Saturday, March 27th

Cavaliers 82

(10-23, 2-15 away)

Nets 97

(18-14, 10-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 2, 2004

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 19 24 20 1982
    NJ 20 19 32 2697

    Top Performers

    Cle: C. Boozer 16 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    NJ: J. Kidd 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    LeBron posts lowest point total since Dec. 6

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jason Kidd showed LeBron James how it's done on both ends of the court, and threw in a lesson in playground basketball.

    Kidd had 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and played a major part in limiting James to 14 points in the New Jersey Nets' 97-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

    The highlight of the show came when Kidd faked a behind-the-back pass on a third-quarter fast break and pulled the ball back for a layup.

    "It was one of the best plays of the year, by far," James said after his worst game in almost a month. "It will be on the Top 10."

    James performance was among his worst 10.

    "I wasn't as aggressive as I have been in the last 12 games," said James, who had four points and three assists in the second half. "It was very cold out there, but that's no excuse. I should have been more aggressive and I should have attacked more."

    His point total was his lowest since scoring eight against Atlanta on Dec. 6. The top pick in the NBA draft had scored at least 17 points in his previous 12 games and had averaged 27.3 since Dec. 11. But James couldn't make anything happen with Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kerry Kittles challenging him every time he touched the ball.

    James threw up two airballs, missed two free throws, had two shots blocked -- the first by Kidd -- and struggled with his shot, going 6-of-19. He also had nine assists and four rebounds.

    While cheered when introduced, the crowd started booing James every time he touched the ball and shouted "Air-ball" when he failed to hit anything.

    James impressed Kidd, though.

    "The special thing is he doesn't have to beat you by scoring," Kidd said after the Nets won for the 11th time in 14 games. "He is 6-foot-8, 240, and to be 19-years old and have the composure he has -- He is special."

    Jefferson and Kittles added 20 points apiece and Kenyon Martin dominated inside, collecting 16 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and five steals.

    Carlos Boozer had his sixth straight double-double for the Cavaliers with 16 points and 13 assists.

    New Jersey shot 24-of-39 in the second half, with Kidd going 7-of-8 while scoring 17 points.

    After being down by four at the half, the Nets took the lead in the third quarter and broke the game open in the fourth after Kevin Ollie hit a three-point play to get the Cavaliers within 74-72.

    Martin ignited a 12-0 run with a three-point play and Kidd, who was 9-of-18 from the field, hit consecutive jumpers in transition to push the lead to 81-72.

    "He's crazy man," Martin said of Kidd. "LeBron has probably never seen anything like that. He tends to do things that people don't even think about."

    Lucious Harris added a jumper and Jefferson followed with a 3-pointer that started the blowout.

    Game notes

    Nets backup center Aaron Williams missed his eighth straight game with a groin injury. ...Cavs coach Paul Silas expects C DeSagana Diop should come off the injured list next week. ...The Nets have won five straight here against Cleveland. ... Kittles moved into fourth place on the Nets all-time scoring (6,418) and field goal (2,474) list. He past Mike Gminski in points and Derrick Coleman in field goals. ...New Jersey tied a season high with seven 3-pointers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 97
    FGM-FGA 34-82 (.415) 38-79 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 7-16 (.438)
    FTM-FTA 11-14 (.786) 14-20 (.700)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-39 8-41
    Assists 26 31
    Turnovers 16 15
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 7 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/0) 15 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Carlos Boozer Boozer
    Points: 16
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 26
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1