BOSTON, Oct. 31 (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd
helped the New Jersey Nets build a 25-point lead, then made sure they did not give it all away.
New Jersey's Jason Kidd had 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in the Nets win.
Jesse D. Garrabrant
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Kidd nearly had a triple-double and made a series of big shots and plays down the stretch as the Nets held off the Boston Celtics, 95-92, for their first 2-0 start in four years.
Kidd collected 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds as he approached a triple-double for the second time in as many nights with his new team. More importantly, the All-Star guard is showing his teammates how to win.
"Jason's our catalyst," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "He can take over the game, whether it's by making big shots, big free throws or big plays on the defensive end, and he did them all tonight."
"You got to answer the bell," Kidd said. "Free throws, making a play, knocking down big shots, making a stand on the defensive end, that's what this game is all about."
In the final four-plus minutes, Kidd scored nine points and fed Kerry Kittles for a clutch 3-pointer. That was just enough to hold off the Celtics (1-1), who rallied behind Paul Pierce.
Pierce scored 19 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer made it 81-80 with 4:23 left, but Kidd drew a foul on a shot from the arc and made all three free throws. He added two more on the next trip and answered another 3-pointer by Pierce with a tough pull-up jumper, making it 88-83 with 3:06 remaining.
After a 3-pointer by Boston's Antoine Walker -- who made just 6-of-29 shots -- Kidd found Kittles for a three-pointer. Pierce made a free throw and Walker tipped in a miss, but there was Kidd again, grabbing an offensive rebound, drawing a foul and making two from the line for a 93-89 lead with 52 seconds to go.
"That's my job, try to mess it up, screw it up as bad as possible and then come back and make a big shot," Kidd said.
Pierce drilled a 3-pointer and Kidd was stripped of the ball. At the other end, Kenny Anderson was fouled with 15 seconds to play. But the former Net missed both shots.
"I missed. I wasn't trying to miss. There's nothing I can do," Anderson said. "I had a lot of confidence going in. It just wasn't in the cards. Confidence is sometimes your worst enemy."
Todd MacCulloch two free throws for the Nets and Pierce finally missed a 3-pointer, allowing the Nets to escape.
"I asked coach, 'If I get it, do you want me to hold on to it?'" said MacCulloch, who made 63 percent of his free throws last season. "He said, 'You can do that, or you can find Jason.' When I got it, Jason motioned for me to just keep it. So he had confidence in me, even though he had knocked down his last eight free throws."
"When Todd got the ball, I told Todd to keep it," Kidd said. "That's the thing that I talked about all season, trust. I believed Todd was going to knock down those free throws."
Kerry Kittles and Kenyon Martin scored 13 points apiece for the Nets, who are 2-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 season -- the last time the club made the playoffs.
MacCulloch had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie Richard Jefferson had his second straight solid game with 11 points.
"We're not saying that anything's turned around, but we're coming out with a different kind of intensity," Jefferson said. "I think we have a feeling that we should win games, that we can pull out games in the crunch time and that's what we've shown."
Walker scored 16 points and he and Pierce each swept 10 boards for the Celtics. Anderson handed out 11 assists.
"I got great looks at the basket, my shot just wasn't falling," Walker said. "There's going to be nights like this, maybe five or six other times. You just got to continue to fight through them, that's what happens during the course of an 82-game season."
"Antoine and Paul are our scorers," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "Rarely does Antoine have difficulty getting his job done. I thought his 3-point looks were fine. I'm going to Antoine and Paul. Everyone knows that and we'll get good at that. Antoine will be back to fight another day."
Boston scored on its first two possessions, then did not score on consecutive possessions until under three minutes remained in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Nets ran the Celtics ragged. In a 10-0 run that opened a 19-8 lead, Kidd had a 3-pointer, made a steal and fed Keith Van Horn for a 3-pointer.
New Jersey led 31-17 after one quarter and opened the second period with a 10-2 surge. Two free throws by Martin gave the Nets their largest lead at 52-27 with with 3:27 to play in the first half.
Kidd had six assists and five rebounds in the first half, which ended with New Jersey holding a 55-39 lead. His 3-pointer made it 75-63 late in the third period.
"The game's not over until it's over," Kidd said. "They're not going to give up; they're a very talented team. We had a little seasoning last night. We were on the other side. We knew how it felt for a team to come out hot in the first half and come back and take the lead in the second."