Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 12/23

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

Nets 84

(42-28, 18-17 away)

Bulls 81

(20-51, 13-23 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    7:30 PM ET, March 23, 2004

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 23 15 23 2384
    CHI 17 23 24 1781

    Top Performers

    NJ: R. Jefferson 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Chi: J. Crawford 34 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Harris leads N.J. down the stretch

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Lucious Harris showed he can handle the point, hit the boards and make big shots. Still, no one realizes more than Harris how much the New Jersey Nets miss Jason Kidd.

    "Jason is a big part of this team. We're just trying to hold it down until he gets back," Harris said Tuesday night after leading the Nets over the Chicago Bulls 84-81.

    The Nets broke a three-game losing streak and are now 1-2 without injured stars Kidd and Kenyon Martin, both of whom have knee injuries.

    "Winning without them, that is going to help us out mentally. Just to get a win and get over the hump," said Harris, who scored 19 points, made three key fourth-quarter baskets and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds.

    "A lot of the shots were open and I just took them. Fortunately they were going in," Harris added.

    Richard Jefferson led the Nets with 20 points and also had 10 rebounds as the New Jersey had a decisive 45-34 edge on the boards.

    Jamal Crawford scored 34 points to lead Chicago, hitting a career-high six 3-pointers, but he missed one at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

    The Bulls also had seven fourth-quarter turnovers.

    "The situation at the end is the situation you dream about, you want to help your team tie, go to overtime and get the win," Crawford said.

    "I got a good look and I missed the shot."

    Harris' 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired put the Nets ahead 77-75 with four minutes left, and then he hit two more jumpers to keep New Jersey in front.

    Crawford's basket cut the lead to two, and after a Nets' miss the Bulls had a chance to tie. But the Nets forced a jump ball and Jefferson controlled the tip, and Kerry Kittles hit the second of two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to make it 84-81.

    "At the end of the game it's about getting defensive stops and making that play," Jefferson said of the jump ball. "Those are things I learned from watching Jason Kidd. We've been in the Finals. We've been in and out of the playoffs. We understand the things it's going to take at the end of the game."

    After a timeout, Crawford took an inbounds pass before his long jumper from the corner went off the rim.

    Crawford scored 12 points in the final five minutes of the second quarter, including a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left, as the Bulls took a 40-38 halftime lead.

    Game notes

    Nets GM Rod Thorn said the team is taking a wait-and- see approach to Kidd's knee injury. Kidd missed his third straight game Tuesday night with a bone bruise on his left knee. He's also bothered by swelling and fluid on the knee, Thorn said. "We'll see how he responds to treatment. We'll see what transpires." Kidd said if he needs knee surgery, he'll wait until after the playoffs. Martin has tendinitis of his left knee, but his condition is not as serious as Kidd's. ... Bulls F Paul Shirley will miss the remainder of the season after bruising a kidney in Monday's night's loss to Indianapolis. ...G Brandon Armstrong also played a big role in New Jersey's victory, scoring 11 points in 22 backup minutes. Jefferson had 12 of his 20 points in the first quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 81
    FGM-FGA 32-75 (.427) 30-75 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 8-13 (.615)
    FTM-FTA 16-22 (.727) 13-18 (.722)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-45 13-34
    Assists 26 20
    Turnovers 16 16
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 2 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 21 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Richard Jefferson Jefferson
    Points: 20
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Jamal Crawford Crawford
    Points: 34
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0