Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Friday, November 5th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 28th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 1st
Game 4: Wednesday, March 16th

Bulls 97

(22-21, 7-11 away)

Nets 107


    Coverage: CSNC

    7:30 PM ET, February 1, 2005

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 25 24 18 3097
    NJ 23 25 32 27107

    Top Performers

    Chi: K. Hinrich 18 Pts, 7 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Blk

    NJ: J. Kidd 26 Pts, 13 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Terry adds 23 as N.J. hands Bulls second straight loss

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Not since he was John Stockton's understudy more than five years ago had Jacque Vaughn played shooting guard.

    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 Bulls.

    "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 victory.

    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 season.

    Vaughn could not recall the last time he scored 23 points (Dec. 9, 2003), and he didn't seem particularly impressed by his accomplishment.

    "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 napkin, everything."

    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 December.

    "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 games.

    Game notes

    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."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press