New Jersey 100, Minnesota 92

East Rutherford, Dec. 30 (AP) -- Mikki Moore got two ovations Saturday night: One as he walked off the court, and another from his teammates in the locker room following the most productive night of his eight-year career.

Richard Jefferson scored 23 points and Moore had a career-best 20 to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 100-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Moore, thrust into the starting lineup the last three games after Nenad Krstic went down with a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 22, was a major force at both ends. He was 9-for-9 from the field and pulled down eight rebounds, five on the offensive boards.

Defensively, Moore held Kevin Garnett to only 17 points on a 5-for-14 shooting night.

"Even if I wasn't 9-for-9, somebody else would have picked up the scoring,'' Moore said. "Just to bother KG and make him have an off night is the best thing that happened. We're both from South Carolina and I respect him a lot. I try to bring my best game when I play against him.''

Garnett acknowledged it was a frustrating night.

"Mikki was pretty effective tonight,'' he said. "He had a good night and he had a stroke going tonight.''

It was a strong bounce-back effort for Moore, who scored only one point on Friday night in the Nets' 91-81 victory over the Heat in Miami.

"To Mikki's credit, he was very disappointed in his performance,'' Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "When a guy is committed to a team, he wants to make amends. Tonight, he was unbelievable. Mikki was, far and above, the star tonight.''

Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey agreed.

"Mikki Moore came in and pounded us,'' Casey said. "It came down to the mental focus and the mental toughness you have to have.''

Jason Kidd added 19 points and Vince Carter scored 14 as the Nets posted a second straight win following a four-game losing streak. The victory also ended a two-game home losing streak and improved the Nets' record to 4-10 against Western Conference teams.

Ricky Davis and Randy Foye led the Timberwolves with 18 while Mark Blount scored 15.

The Nets broke the game open with a 13-6 run to open the fourth quarter, taking an 85-72 lead. Kidd and Jefferson hit 3-pointers in the run and Moore added a pair of baskets before Bostjan Nachbar tacked on another 3-pointer.

The Timberwolves pulled within seven on a basket by Bracey Wright with 2:10 left but Jefferson killed off the potential rally with a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a 93-83 lead.

Minnesota led briefly in the first quarter, but the Nets went ahead 21-16 by the end of the period as Carter scored nine points.

"For the most part, the first quarter is where we didn't have the focus and the energy you need to win on the road in four games in five nights,'' Casey said.

New Jersey outscored Minnesota 31-30 in the second quarter to take a 52-46 halftime lead. Reserve Eddie House had nine points in the period. The Timberwolves had two players in double figures at the half, Blount with 11 and Garnett with 10.

The Nets were up 72-66 after three as Moore scored seven points in the period while also pulling down four rebounds.

Notes: Both teams were playing their fourth game in five nights after both earned victories on Friday. The Timberwolves were 101-82 home winners over Seattle. The Nets improved to 2-5 in the second half of back-to-back games; the Timberwolves fell to 3-6 ... Lawrence Frank tied Kevin Loughery for second in victories among Nets coaches. Loughery had 129 in the NBA while also coaching the Nets to 168 wins in the ABA. Byron Scott is leader with 149. ... The game marked the pro debut in New Jersey for Minnesota rookie guard Foye, who attended East Side High School in nearby Newark. ... Moore's previous best was 18 points for the Clippers against the Lakers on Dec. 11, 2004.


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