EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., March 31 (Ticker) --
With how well Richard
has been playing, the New Jersey Nets can afford to
let Kenyon Martin
rest his injured knee.
NBA TV highlights from|
Jefferson recorded his first career triple-double and Jason Kidd
collected 30 points and 12 rebounds as the Nets extended their
winning streak to four games with a 110-86 rout of the Houston
Jefferson was named the NBA Player of the Week for the first
time Monday after averaging 26.3 points in three games last
week, including a career-high 39 points Friday. He continued
his torrid play against the Rockets as he picked up the slack
for Martin, who is sidelined with a sprained knee.
"He's in a zone. The guy's playing unbelievable basketball,"
Nets coach Byron Scott said. "He got his first triple-double, he
got some assists and he's still able to take his shots when he
had them. The last three or four games, he's looked like he's
been in the league the last five or six years. His confidence
right now is at an all-time high."
"He's the Player of the Week and it carried it over tonight,"
Kidd said. "We knew that we are shorthanded, so guys had to step
up and he definitely did that. The way he's been playing. Even
if K-Mart played tonight, I bet he still would have had a big
A second-year forward, Jefferson scored 30 points on 10-of-17
shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out a career-high 11
"As the game progresses, you don't even notice it until you hear
that you need two more assists and three more rebounds,"
Jefferson said. "J-Kidd told me, 'Don't worry about the assists,
you'll get the assists. Just get the rebounds.'"
Jefferson scored 19 points in the first half for the Nets, who
never trailed and led by as many as 15 in the opening 24
New Jersey had a 75-67 lead with 2:14 left in the third quarter
before bridging the final two periods with an 18-2 run.
The Nets scored nine of the final 10 points in the third,
highlighted by a pair of baskets from Rodney Rogers
, and carried
an 84-68 cushion into the fourth.
Kidd scored the first five points of the final quarter, which
New Jersey opened with a 9-1 run. Jefferson capped the burst
with an alley-oop for a 93-69 advantage with 9:08 remaining.
The Nets had their largest lead at 106-76 on a dunk by Jefferson
with 2:28 to go.
Jefferson has rebounded from a midseason slump and so has New
Jersey, which has won eight of 11 games to pull within one game
of first-place Detroit in the Eastern Conference.
"We've been on a roll the last few games," Jefferson said. "The
demeanor and character of this team is upbeat and we're very
excited about the next couple of weeks."
"I think the guys are starting to get a good feel for the game,"
Scott said. "All we're doing right now is climbing, we're
playing better and better with each game. That's the direction
we want to be headed in."
Despite playing without Martin, the team's leading rebounder,
the Nets dominated the glass. Brian Scalabrine
rebounds in place of Martin and Dikembe Mutumbo
added eight as
New Jersey held a commanding 58-39 advantage on the glass.
"We didn't get to the boards as well as them," Rockets assistant
Larry Smith said. "They controlled the board and made us pay
for it. We were unable to stop them."
Rookie Yao Ming
scored 24 points and Steve Francis
added 22 for
the Rockets, who fell one-half game behind the Phoenix Suns for
the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Houston shot just 41 percent (32-of-78) as it played without
second-leading scorer Cuttino Mobley
, who sat out with a
sprained left index finger.
"I thought overall, it was a lackluster performance on our
part," Smith said. "You have to give (the Nets) a lot of credit.
They came out and established themselves early and we were
unable to contain them."