INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 13 (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd
proved the difference in a battle of the Eastern Conference's best teams as the surprising New Jersey Nets defeated the Indiana Pacers, 91-82, for their fourth straight win.
New Jersey's Keith Van Horn battles with Al Harrington under the hoop.
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Kidd had 20 points and 10 assists as he distributed the ball well for New Jersey, which had five players score in double figures en route to its sixth win in seven games.
Off to the best start in team history, the Nets snapped Indiana's four-game winning streak. They were clinging to a 74-70 lead with less than eight minutes remaining before going on a 10-0 run that was capped by a pair of free throws by Kidd with 3:57 left.
"Our whole team was up to the challenge and it's been like that since day one," Kidd said. "We are developing a trust for each other. There's a lot of heart on this ballclub. There are guys who've been through a heck of a lot in this locker room. The good thing is no one talks about the past; everyone is looking to the future."
Keith Van Horn added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets, who also got big games from frontcourt mates Kenyon Martin and Todd MacCulloch. Martin contributed 13 points and seven rebounds and MacCulloch had 10 and eight.
The Pacers (6-3) lost to New Jersey for the second time this season. On October 30, they squandered a 13-point fourth-quarter lead and fell on the road, 103-97, in the season opener for both teams.
Jalen Rose led Indiana with 21 points and had seven rebounds and seven assists. Al Harrington added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who shot just 34 percent (30-of-87) and never had the lead after it was 10-9.
"A loss is a loss," Rose said. "There is no good loss. You go out there to win and find ways to win. We had too many open looks, including myself, and could not knock them in. You can't and won't win basketball games like that."
Rose shot just 7-of-21 and outside threat Reggie Miller was 4-of-13 for 10 points.
"We did a great job defensively on Rose and Miller," Van Horn said. "We had a lot of guys contribute. Kenyon, Lucious (Harris) and Kerry (Kittles) all did a great job of keeping those guys under control. And then the big guys did a good job backing them up under the basket."
Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers' leading rebounder and shot blocker, sat out with a bruised lower back.
"You can't use (O'Neal's absence) as an excuse," Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said. "We didn't shoot the ball well. You've got to make shots. Tonight I was searching and couldn't find anyone to make shots. Without his presence, we were a jump-shooting team, and we couldn't make shots."
Kidd capped an 11-0 run over the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first quarter with a 3-pointer to stretch the Nets' advantage to 32-16.
Indiana scored the first seven points of the second quarter to get within 32-23. Rose scored all of his 11 first-half points in the period, but the Pacers could not slice the deficit into single digits before halftime as Kidd had a dozen points for a 45-35 cushion.
New Jersey won despite missing 12 of 26 free throws.
"We have been shooting around 80 percent as a team," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "Tonight we just couldn't make them. Free throws weren't falling, but luckily we had a big enough lead to combat our shooting."