Dec. 30 (STATS) -- A home matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves might be exactly what the New Jersey Nets need to gain some momentum in the lowly Atlantic Division.

New Jersey has a chance to move into a tie atop the division Saturday and continue its success against Minnesota at Continental Airlines Arena.

The Nets (12-18) have won five of the last six meetings with the Timberwolves (13-14) there, outscoring them by 15.6 points in the victories. Minnesota - which has won four of the last five overall between the teams - posted its lone win at New Jersey in that span with a 96-75 rout on March 26, 2005.

New Jersey is hoping this meeting will help them build on Friday's 91-81 win over the short-handed Miami Heat, who were missing their leading scorer Dwyane Wade and starting center Shaquille O'Neal.

"Winning is always good,'' said Nets point guard Jason Kidd, who had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the victory. "It's the best deodorant.''

The win moved the Nets percentage points behind the New York Knicks for second place, one game behind division-leading Toronto. It also halted the Nets' four-game slide that coincided with the loss of center Nenad Krstic, who is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee.

Krstic suffered the injury on Dec. 22 against the Los Angeles Lakers - the defeat that started the skid.

"It's all about confidence,'' said Nets guard Vince Carter, who leads the team with 25.8 points per game. "Guys have been struggling. We played good basketball tonight, and hopefully that carries over.''

Without Krstic - who averages 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds - the Nets have inserted Jason Collins into the starting center spot, and the 7-footer has totaled 21 points and 15 rebounds in the four games since Krstic's injury.

Collins will have to contend with Minnesota center Mark Blount, who had one of his best games in Friday's 101-82 rout by the Timberwolves. The 7-footer shot 8-for-12 from the field and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.

"He's in a rhythm,'' said Timberwolves rookie forward Craig Smith, who added 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.

Blount has averaged just 6.1 points in 21 lifetime games against the Nets, but he did have 18 points and nine rebounds in an 86-82 loss at New Jersey on March 23.

The seven-year veteran is averaging 14.0 points and 8.0 rebounds his last eight games, providing some balance to a frontcourt that relies heavily on Kevin Garnett.

Garnett leads the Wolves with 21.9 points and 12.2 rebounds, but had a season-low 10 points Friday. He did grab 13 rebounds to record his 23rd double-double of the season and fifth in his last six games.

The power forward has averaged 22.2 points with 11.0 rebounds in his last six contests at New Jersey, and Garnett is averaging 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds in 20 lifetime games versus the Nets.


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