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Nets finding way back into win column

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Mikki Moore got two ovations
Saturday night: One as he walked off the court, and another from
his teammates in the locker room following the most productive
night of his eight-year career.

Richard Jefferson scored 23 points and Moore had a career-best
20 to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 100-92 victory over the
Minnesota Timberwolves.

Moore, thrust into the starting lineup the last three games
after Nenad Krstic went down with a season-ending knee injury on
Dec. 22, was a major force at both ends. He was 9-for-9 from the
field and pulled down eight rebounds, five on the offensive boards.

Defensively, Moore held Kevin Garnett to only 17 points on a
5-for-14 shooting night.

"Even if I wasn't 9-for-9, somebody else would have picked up
the scoring," Moore said. "Just to bother KG and make him have an
off night is the best thing that happened. We're both from South
Carolina and I respect him a lot. I try to bring my best game when
I play against him."

Garnett acknowledged it was a frustrating night.

"Mikki was pretty effective tonight," he said. "He had a good
night and he had a stroke going tonight."

It was a strong bounce-back effort for Moore, who scored only
one point on Friday night in the Nets' 91-81 victory over the Heat
in Miami.

"To Mikki's credit, he was very disappointed in his
performance," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "When a guy is
committed to a team, he wants to make amends. Tonight, he was
unbelievable. Mikki was, far and above, the star tonight."

Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey agreed.

"Mikki Moore came in and pounded us," Casey said. "It came
down to the mental focus and the mental toughness you have to
have."

Jason Kidd added 19 points and Vince Carter scored 14 as the
Nets posted a second straight win following a four-game losing
streak. The victory also ended a two-game home losing streak and
improved the Nets' record to 4-10 against Western Conference teams.

Ricky Davis and Randy Foye led the Timberwolves with 18 while
Mark Blount scored 15.

The Nets broke the game open with a 13-6 run to open the fourth
quarter, taking an 85-72 lead. Kidd and Jefferson hit 3-pointers in
the run and Moore added a pair of baskets before Bostjan Nachbar
tacked on another 3-pointer.

The Timberwolves pulled within seven on a basket by Bracey
Wright with 2:10 left but Jefferson killed off the potential rally
with a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a 93-83 lead.

Minnesota led briefly in the first quarter, but the Nets went
ahead 21-16 by the end of the period as Carter scored nine points.

"For the most part, the first quarter is where we didn't have
the focus and the energy you need to win on the road in four games
in five nights," Casey said.

New Jersey outscored Minnesota 31-30 in the second quarter to
take a 52-46 halftime lead. Reserve Eddie House had nine points in
the period. The Timberwolves had two players in double figures at
the half, Blount with 11 and Garnett with 10.

The Nets were up 72-66 after three as Moore scored seven points
in the period while also pulling down four rebounds.<
^Notes:@: Both teams were playing their fourth game in five nights
after both earned victories on Friday. The Timberwolves were 101-82
home winners over Seattle. The Nets improved to 2-5 in the second
half of back-to-back games; the Timberwolves fell to 3-6 ...
Lawrence Frank tied Kevin Loughery for second in victories among
Nets coaches. Loughery had 129 in the NBA while also coaching the
Nets to 168 wins in the ABA. Byron Scott is leader with 149. ...
The game marked the pro debut in New Jersey for Minnesota rookie
guard Foye, who attended East Side High School in nearby Newark.
... Moore's previous best was 18 points for the Clippers against
the Lakers on Dec. 11, 2004.