New Jersey 120, Milwaukee 106

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 28 (AP) -- It took Devin Harris only nine minutes to turn around the New Jersey Nets and make Jason Kidd seem like a distant memory.

Stepping on the court for the first time since being acquired last week in an eight-player trade for Kidd, Harris scored 16 of his 21 points in a spectacular game-changing early spurt that carried New Jersey to a 120-106 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

"I was very anxious to get out there,'' said Harris, who hit all six of his shots in the first half. "I was running a mile a minute and I was glad I got the start I did in the first half. I just felt good and everything was going in.''

Harris, who added five assists in just under 21 minutes, also heard an old chant from the crowd at the Izod Center in the waning seconds.

"Dev-in Harris! Dev-in Harris!''

"That was like college,'' Harris said. "I hadn't heard that since I left Wisconsin. Like I said, I don't want to replace anybody. I just want to be myself and play as hard as I can and get them to accept me for who I am.''

Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson added 19 points apiece and Bostjan Nachbar scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter to help New Jersey beat the Bucks for the third straight time this season.

Michael Redd had 33 points, Mo Williams added 24 and Andrew Bogut had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, who had a two-game winning streak snapped in losing for the 25th time in 31 road games.

"It wasn't just Devin,'' Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I thought the first half, anytime you give up 64 percent, you don't have much of a chance.''

Harris' debut was everything the Nets could have hoped for after dealing the unhappy Kidd - the guy who led them to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003- to the Dallas Mavericks.

In making the deal, New Jersey gave up one of the best point guards in basketball for a 25-year-old counterpart with a big upside.

Harris' debut was delayed more than a week while he recovered from a sprained left ankle that he hurt playing for the Mavericks in late January. The third-year player practiced with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday and his availability was listed as a game-time decision.

The wait was worth it.

Harris got a standing ovation from about a quarter of the crowd when he entered with the score tied at 22 with 2:47 left in the first quarter.

Before the period was over, Harris scored the final six points in a 10-1 spurt that had most of the fans on their feet. He also had an assist in the run and should have had another.

His opening 6-plus minutes in the second quarter were just as good, as Harris hit two 3-pointers and twice split defenders in the lane for layups.

By the time he went back to the bench with 5:34 left before halftime, New Jersey had a 50-35 lead.

"To impact the game like he did was really impressive,'' Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He was perfect in the first half and that group led by him totally turned the game around.''

Redd scored 11 points in the third quarter to get the Bucks to 91-85.

However, Harris drove down the lane in the opening seconds of the fourth and dunked over Bogut and then added two free throws for a 95-85 lead.

"Devin definitely brought a spark to the game,'' Carter said.

Nachbar put the game away a couple of minutes later, hitting three 3-pointers in scoring 13 consecutive points and pushing the lead to 114-97.

Josh Boone added 14 points and Marcus Williams, who started at point guard, had 11.

Notes: The Nets' reserves outscored Milwaukee's backups 49-8. ... The Nets were 11-of-23 from 3-point range. The Bucks were 4-of-12. ... The Nets had a season-high 68 points in the first half. ... Yi Jianlian talked to Chinese Olympic teammate Yao Ming on Wednesday night. Yao is out for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, but Yi said the Rockets center's spirits were "pretty good'' as he awaited results of a second opinion before deciding if surgery was necessary. ... The first 5,000 fans who attend Sunday's game against San Antonio will receive a Devin Harris T-shirt.


Copyright 2008 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited