Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 12/23

Game 1: Tuesday, December 23rd
Game 2: Friday, March 12th
Game 3: Tuesday, March 23rd

Bulls 78

(7-20, 3-10 away)

Nets 95

(14-13, 8-6 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    7:30 PM ET, December 23, 2003

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 20 18 22 1878
    NJ 20 26 26 2395

    Top Performers

    Chi: K. Hinrich 17 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    NJ: R. Jefferson 26 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Fourth-quarter run helps Nets

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets are starting to have fun again, and there was no surer sign of that than watching Jason Kidd lead the fast break.

    Kidd scored 18 points and led a trio of highlight-film fast breaks in a 95-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

    "Holiday spirit," Kidd said in explaining a personal show that included a look-away fake on a layup, a behind-the-back pass that set up a slam by Kenyon Martin, and a steal and a pass that led to another slam by Richard Jefferson.

    "I think when we are at our best, we express ourselves," said Kidd, who added 10 assists. "It's not so much flashy, but it's making difficult things look easy."

    One of the things that was difficult early in the season that's now seemingly easier for the Nets is winning.

    This was their seventh win in nine games, and sixth straight at home.

    "It's a long season and we have to get back to having fun," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "We are the two-time defending (Eastern Conference) champions. Let's enjoy the moment. Let's have fun with it and see what happens."

    The Nets shot almost 49 percent from the field and got balanced scoring.

    Jefferson scored 26 points, including six in a game-breaking 11-point run to start the fourth quarter.

    Martin, who twisted his ankle on the opening tip-off, had 16 points and nine rebounds. Kerry Kittles added 14 points and New Jersey limited Chicago to 37.2 percent shooting from the field in handing the Bulls their ninth straight road loss.

    "They got their break going," said Bulls rookie Kirk Hinrich, who had 17 points. "This is how they got to the finals the last two years, because of their break. They made plays and we never recovered from that."

    Kidd made the three plays people will remember.

    The All Star point guard got the crowd out of their seats by faking a pass with a roundhouse passing motion and continuing down the lane for a layup in the first quarter.

    "That was vintage J. Kidd right there," Martin said. "He fooled me."

    Kidd also made a behind-the-back pass to Martin for a slam late in the second quarter, and he capped the show with a steal and pass that ended with Jefferson scoring on a reverse slam in the third.

    "Get it to J. Kidd at all cost, that's the way we play," Jefferson said. "He is one of the best in the history of basketball on the fast break. I know if I get it to him, I'll either get it back or he'll do something amazing, he didn't disappoint."

    Jerome Williams added 15 for the banged-up Bulls, who lost their fourth straight overall. Chicago is 3-8 since Scott Skiles replaced Bill Cartwright as coach on Nov. 24.

    The Bulls, whose three roads wins this season match their total for last season, played without injured big men Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler.

    Game notes

    Kittles started his 400th game with the Nets, second-most in franchise history behind Buck Williams. ... C Mikki Moore made his New Jersey debut with 4:05 left. ... Bulls G Jamal Crawford scored five points, only the second time in 14 games he has been under double figures. ... Skiles got a first-half technical for screaming after Corie Blount was hacked and didn't get a call.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 78 95
    FGM-FGA 29-78 (.372) 38-78 (.487)
    3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 6-16 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 17-20 (.850) 13-16 (.813)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-35 7-41
    Assists 20 25
    Turnovers 19 15
    Steals 10 8
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (2/0) 17 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Kirk Hinrich Hinrich
    Points: 17
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Richard Jefferson Jefferson
    Points: 26
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1