EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Not since he was John Stockton's
understudy more than five years ago had Jacque Vaughn played
Yet there Vaughn was Tuesday night, filling a hole for the
injury-depleted New Jersey Nets and doing the job well as he tied
his career high with 23 points in a 107-97 victory over the Chicago
"He was a man possessed tonight," said teammate Vince Carter,
who was fired up himself in contributing 31 points, six assists and
five rebounds to New Jersey's season-high fourth consecutive
Vaughn shot 8-for-12 from the field and 7-for-7 from the foul
line, providing the Nets with a much-needed third offensive option
behind Carter and Jason Kidd.
"I can make shots. Percentage-wise, I've been a good shooter
throughout my career. The knock probably is I don't shoot enough,"
said Vaughn, a seven-year veteran.
Vaughn took the spot in the starting five formerly occupied by
Rodney Buford, who sprained his ankle in New Jersey's previous
game. The Nets used their 14th different starting lineup of the
Vaughn could not recall the last time he scored 23 points (Dec.
9, 2003), and he didn't seem particularly impressed by his
"You see I don't have a stat sheet in my hand, and I wouldn't
have known if you hadn't told me," he said. "(Carter) and J-Kidd
set my whole table tonight, they put the silverware out there, my
Kidd contributed 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists,
narrowly missing his 62nd career-triple-double, and Nenad Krstic
had 12 points and seven rebounds for a Nets team that won its final
three games on a five-game Western road trip and returned home with
a boost in confidence.
After opening the season 2-11 while waiting for Kidd to return
from knee surgery, the Nets have injected themselves into the race
for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"We're an offensive juggernaut, and we throw a little defense
out there every once in a while," Kidd said.
Kirk Hinrich had 18 points for the Bulls, who lost their second
in a row for their first two-game losing streak since late
"I know Jacque as well as about most people do. He's a pretty
introverted person," said Hinrich, who -- like Vaughn -- played
collegiately at Kansas. "You know Jacque is a good player, but you
don't expect him to shoot the ball like that.
"He broke our backs with a few of those shots."
Chicago led 49-48 at halftime behind 11 points from Ben Gordon,
helping the Bulls to a 23-0 advantage in bench scoring over the
first two quarters.
New Jersey didn't get a single point from any of its reserves
until Jabari Smith sank a 19-footer midway through the third
quarter as part of a 21-3 run that gave the Nets control.
Kidd began the run with a three-point play, hitting a 20-foot
jumper as he was fouled after pump-faking Bulls rookie Chris Duhon
into the air.
Carter, taking particular relish in going against defender
Andres Nocioni, had a nifty spin move leading to a high-arching
layup and three-point play that made it 62-51. He later sank a
3-pointer over Nocioni to make it 65-53.
Chicago pulled within eight points twice in the final quarter
but got no closer, losing for just the third time in its past 15
Elden Campbell, claimed on waivers last week, made his Nets
debut and had one rebound in 2 minutes. ... Zoran Planinic,
activated from the injured list earlier in the day, and Donnell
Harvey, just signed to a 10-day contract, did not play for the
Nets. ... The Nets have defeated the Bulls six consecutive times
and are 3-0 against them this season. ... Kidd moved within eight
assists of tying Bob Cousy (6,955) for 12th place on the career
list. He'll attempt to surpass the Celtics legend when the Nets
play at Boston on Wednesday night. "That would be awesome if I
could get it up there," said Kidd, who has had run-ins with
Celtics fans in the past. "I love Boston."