Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Saturday, December 4th
Game 2: Saturday, December 11th
Game 3: Monday, January 17th

Hawks 88

(2-14, 1-7 away)

Nets 109

(4-12, 3-6 home)

    Coverage: SSN

    7:30 PM ET, December 4, 2004

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 22 19 17 3088
    NJ 30 27 23 29109

    Top Performers

    Atl: A. Harrington 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    NJ: R. Buford 18 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast

    New Jersey shoots season-high 54 percent

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- One practice with Jason Kidd seemingly has made the New Jersey Nets a better team. Or could it be one game against the lowly Atlanta Hawks?

    A day after Kidd practiced for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in July, Eric Williams scored 21 points and the Nets shot a season-high 54.4 percent in a 109-88 win over Atlanta on Saturday night, the Hawks' ninth straight loss.

    "He was on the floor and we had a great practice," Williams said of Friday's workout. "You see the guys running with the extra effort and making the extra pass. It's contagious. That's Jason Kidd."

    Kidd, who has not played since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Detroit, is expected to return Monday night against the Toronto Raptors.

    The appearance might start a showcase of Kidd. The perennial All-Star point guard has hinted he wants to be traded because he is unhappy that the Nets were dismantled after last season.

    Saturday night's game matched the Nets' league-worst offense (81.7 points) against the Hawks' league-worst defense (102.3), and Atlanta made the Nets look good.

    "Our guys really played off each other," coach Lawrence Frank said after the Nets won for only the fourth time in 16 games with a team that no longer features Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles and others.

    "In terms of improvement it was a good night," Frank added. "We had contributions from a lot of guys and the bench really stepped up."

    Richard Jefferson rebounded from his worst game of the season -- seven points and no field goals against Washington -- with 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

    Rodney Buford, who has struggled with his shooting all season, added a season-high 18 points and rookie Nenad Krstic had a career-high 15 points in 20 minutes.

    Krstic had scored 21 points in 72 minutes over his previous 10 games.

    Al Harrington had 17 points and Antoine Walker 15 for Atlanta, which lost for the 14th time in 16 games.

    "Nobody is stepping up for us," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I'm not here to teach effort. My job is to teach X's and O's. Everybody gets paid well in this league and they should want to come out and give effort."

    Woodson said anyone not showing effort won't play.

    New Jersey scored on its first 11 possessions and led by as many as 15 points in the opening minutes. The Nets led by 16 at the half and 22 after three quarters. The only excitement in the fourth quarter came on dunks by Hawks rookies Josh Smith and Josh Childress.

    Williams shot 7-of-8 from the field, including three 3-pointers, in falling one shy of his season high for points.

    Atlanta made only one run. After falling behind 19-4, Walker scored 10 points and Tony Delk added six in an 18-6 spurt that cut the Nets' lead to 25-22 with 1:13 left in the quarter.

    Buford, who had scored in double figures twice this season, got the Nets back on track by hitting a 21-foot jumper and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to push the lead to eight points.

    Brian Scalabrine hit a layup and a 3-pointer in a 9-3 run to open the second quarter, and Atlanta never got close the rest of the way.

    Game notes

    The Nets placed G Zoran Planinic on the injured list and activated C Jabari Smith before the game. ... Woodson may have shown more effort than his team, picking up a technical foul with 6:30 left in the third quarter for arguing a 3-seconds call. ... The Nets have won seven straight against the Hawks in New Jersey. ... The Nets fell two points shy of a season-high.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 109
    FGM-FGA 29-69 (.420) 37-68 (.544)
    3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 5-7 (.714)
    FTM-FTA 27-35 (.771) 30-41 (.732)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-33 7-37
    Assists 15 24
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 5 5
    Blocks 3 3
    Fast Break Points 8 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (1/0) 26 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 0 27

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Al Harrington Harrington
    Points: 17
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Rodney Buford Buford
    Points: 18
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0