EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey, March 13 (Ticker) -- Lucious Harris
have restored a familiar look to the New Jersey
NBA TV highlights from|
Harris scored 24 points off the bench and Collins added a
season-high 15 in a balanced attack as the Nets cruised to a
90-75 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Last season, the Nets reached the NBA Finals despite no player
averaging more than 15 points per game. This season, the team
has relied more on the offense of All-Star point guard Jason
and has suffered a bit.
The Nets lost 10 of 14 coming out of the All-Star break but
appeared to straighten things out with Sunday's win at New
Orleans that helped them maintain first place in the Atlantic
Division. With Harris and Collins contributing, they made sure
the Celtics did not get any closer.
Harris, who filled in as a starter earlier this season, snapped
out of a slump that had seen him score just 25 points in the
previous five games. He made 10-of-16 shots and scored 17
points in the final 14 minutes.
"It feels good to get a win. Wins have been scarce around
here," Harris said. "I've been shooting the ball pretty poorly
of late, but tonight I felt good out there. When we have this
type of balance, we are tough to beat."
Collins also had been slumping, reaching double figures just
once in the last eight games. But the second-year center made
4-of-5 shots and 7-of-8 free throws, scoring all of his points
in the middle two quarters.
"I really didn't do anything different," Collins said. "I try
to play each game the same. I try to be active and aggressive.
We put a couple of good games together and hopefully we can
keep it going. We had good balance tonight as a team."
added 17 points for the Nets (40-25), who improved
to 27-5 at home as they began a stretch of three games against
the teams chasing them. They host Philadelphia on Sunday and
visit Boston on Tuesday.
"This starts off a very big week for us with the Philadelphia
76ers coming in here Sunday," Nets coach Byron Scott said.
"This was a great way to start. We did what we were supposed to
do. Defensively, we were all over the place. On the offensive
end, we just ran our offense."
Martin had even more of an impact at the defensive end,
registering four steals and a block while holding All-Star
to 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting.
scored 22 points for Boston, which shot less than 34
percent (26-of-77) and lost for just the second time in six
"Our defense was good and we played with a lot of energy,
especially on Walker and Pierce," Martin said. "If you do a
good job on them, you have a good chance against this team."
After a rare four-point play by Pierce gave the Celtics a 32-31
lead midway through the second quarter, the teams traded baskets
before Kidd sank a 3-pointer to give the Nets the lead for
That began a 14-3 run that closed the half and saw Boston go
scoreless from the field for more than five minutes. Working
against the Celtics' smallish front line, the 7-foot Collins had
five free throws and a layup in 80 seconds.
Collins' outburst was framed by dunks from Martin set up by
Kidd, giving New Jersey a 47-37 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Collins had eight more points in a span of
just over three minutes, widening a nine-point lead to 68-53
with 3:11 to go.
"Jason played great," Scott said. "He was big on both ends of
the court. He was a key contributor on the defensive end,
especially with his help. He was rebounding and knocking down
shots. It was definitely one of his best games. He was ready
to play." "We were right there in the first half, but we really
could not get it going in the second half," Walker said. "They
mixed it up with full-court pressure and played a little zone.
They gave us a nice combination."
After 3-pointers by rookie J.R. Bremer
, Pierce and Tony Delk
the deficit to 81-71 with 6:19 remaining, Harris had two
jumpers and a layup in a 9-0 spurt that settled matters.
Kidd had 13 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, Richard
had 11 points and eight boards and Kerry Kittles
scored 10 points for the Nets, who shot 41 percent (31-of-76).
Bremer scored 13 points and Eric Williams
added 12 for the
Celtics, who committed 20 turnovers and fell to 15-17 on the
road. They play five of their next six games away from home.
"They are a tough team to play against on back-to-back nights
because they get up and down the court so well," Celtics coach
Jim O'Brien said. "I thought our turnovers killed us because it
allowed them to get fast breaks. I think what was wrong with
the offense was their defense. They played a very tough-minded
defense that took us out of our rhythm."