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Atlanta doomed by 28 turnovers

ATLANTA (AP) -- Richard Jefferson didn't care that Jason Kidd
failed to assist on a basket for the first time in his 11-year
career.

Kidd's return from a knee injury has given New Jersey a big
boost.

"If you look at the games that he's been back, my scoring in
the second half has increased because he gets other people
involved," Jefferson said. "He makes it easier for other people.
In the second half, I have a little bit more legs."

Jefferson scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, and
Travis Best, starting in Kidd's place, had a season-high 21 to lead
the Nets to a 95-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday
night.

Kidd, who played 17 minutes, hit five of six free throws in the
final 33.4 seconds. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Kidd had an
assist in each of his first 796 games, including 33 in the
playoffs, before Saturday night.

Kidd, who played the final 7:47, finished with four turnovers
and was just 1-for-5 from the floor. He had nine points and no
assists. New Jersey is 3-1 since Kidd returned.

"I don't have much feel for the game," Kidd said. "I want to
try to speed it up."

New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank projected that Kidd, who has the
fourth-best assist average in league history, would play only 18
minutes after he went a season-high 28 in an overtime victory over
New Orleans on Friday night. He had eight points, five rebounds and
eight assists against the Hornets.

Frank knows Kidd needs time before he feels comfortable.

"Late in the game, where most point guards have a tendency to
slow down, he's getting push-passes to Richard," Frank said.
"He's always attacking, and he forces guys to run and I think he
keeps the pace going."

Antoine Walker led the Hawks with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
Atlanta committed 20 turnovers, leading to 28 points for New
Jersey.

The Hawks lived up to their billing as the NBA's worst
free-throw team, hitting just 12 of 21.

Eric Williams scored 20 points for the Nets, who took their
biggest lead when Jefferson's 3-pointer from the left wing made it
74-62 with 8:38 remaining.

Though Kidd played only 5 minutes in the third quarter, Williams
thought his presence elevated the Nets.

"Jason makes it easier and gives us a level of confidence on
the floor, knowing that he's on the team," Williams said. "But
we're out here getting repetition. In the beginning, we were like
robots, trying to understand this offenses and trying to run the
play all the way through and not understanding when open shots are
there, take 'em, starting to recognize open shots, just playing
regular basketball."

Al Harrington had 21 points before fouling out for Atlanta,
which dropped to 2-9 at home, including a 1-6 mark against Eastern
Conference teams.

The Hawks had won two of three after beating the Pistons in
Detroit Friday night.

"We have to be more consistent," Harrington said. "Until we
figure out how to do that, we just have to keep working hard, play
good defense and not be selfish with the ball."

Jefferson grabbed eight rebounds for the Nets.

Game notes
Alonzo Mourning didn't make the trip with New Jersey and
missed his second straight game with hip, knee, hand and leg
injuries. Brian Scalabrine started in his place for the second
straight night. ... Rookie G Josh Smith, the 17th overall pick,
started his second straight game for the Hawks in place of Kenny
Anderson. Smith had 11 points, including two left-handed dunks from
the right baseline in the fourth quarter.

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