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Scott falls short in return to New Jersey

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- With the game on the line, Jason Kidd didn't hesitate to push his surgically-repaired knee to the
limit.

Kidd hit a go-ahead basket early in overtime, and the Nets
denied former coach Byron Scott a win in his return to New Jersey
with a 94-91 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

"Coach asked me and I told him I wanted to continue to keep
playing," Kidd said after contributing eight points and eight
assists in a season-high 28 minutes. "I felt great. We'll see how
I feel tomorrow."

Nets coach Lawrence Frank struggled letting Kidd continue the
extra five minutes in only his third game since returning from knee
surgery in July.

"I went to our coaches and said: `I think I have to take him
out," Frank said. "I looked at him and I went with it. I just
pray he's OK."

Kidd had a basket, an assist and two rebounds in the overtime.
His biggest play came with 3:26 to go when backed David Wesley down
and hit a 10-footer for a 90-88 lead.

Neither team scored again until Eric Williams hit a layup with
1:31 to go.

George Lynch cut the lead to a point on a 3-pointer with 1:11 to
play, but Travis Best hit two free throws with 49 seconds to go,
Jason Collins blocked a layup attempt by Matt Freije with 25.9
seconds left and Freije also missed two free throws with a second
to go.

As the teams walked off the floor, Scott pointed to Frank in
acknowledgment. Kidd had acknowledged Scott with a point before the
game.

"He just wanted you guys to know there is no rift," said
Scott, who was fired in January amid rumors that he and Kidd were
at odds. "Anything you guys are trying to make it out to be, it's
not. ... We've never had a problem and I don't know how many times
I have to say that."

The Nets rallied from a seven-point deficit with 2:10 to play in
the fourth quarter and sent the Hornets to their season-high ninth
straight loss and 17th in 18 games.

Richard Jefferson scored 24 points and Williams added 19 for the
Nets, who had 30 turnovers.

Dan Dickau came off the bench to lead the Hornets with a
career-high 18 points. Lynch and P.J. Brown added 14 points apiece
for New Orleans, which made too many late mistakes to win.

The Hornets seemed on the verge of their second win of the
season when Dickau and Brown scored four points apiece and Lynch
hit a 3-pointer in a late 15-6 spurt that gave New Orleans an 86-79
lead with 2:10 to play.

However, the Nets scored the next seven points. Jefferson fed
Williams for a 3-pointer and then he scored on a fast break after
Kidd stole the ball.

Collins tied the game at 86-all, catching an airball by
Jefferson and scoring a layup with 1:03 to play.

"The game never should have gone to overtime," Brown said.
"We were in complete control with two minutes to go. It's
experience. You have to learn that. That's the hardest part of the
game. You have to raise your game and concentrate more. We had a
turnover or two and let them take it to overtime."

The final 63 seconds were sloppy. Brown missed a jumper for New
Orleans with about 40 seconds to go and Jefferson then had an
errant pass stolen with 22.3 seconds left. Dickau threw up an
airball with 3.6 seconds to play and Jefferson missed a jumper at
the buzzer.

In his 3½ years in New Jersey, Scott led the Nets to two NBA
Finals appearances. He was fired in late January and replaced by
Frank, who then won his first 13 games.

Game notes
Nets C Alonzo Mourning sat out with hand, hip and knee
aches. He also intends to sit out Saturday's game at Atlanta.
...The Hornets, who already have Rodney Rogers, Jamal Mashburn,
Baron Davis and Jamaal Magliore on the injured list, had starting F
Lee Nailon sit out with a groin injury. ... Kaniel Dickens, who was
leading the CBA in scoring before signing with New Jersey earlier
this week, hit a 3-pointer on his first shot with the Nets.
...Hornets rookie and New Jersey resident J.R. Smith did not play
in his first pro game here.