MIAMI, May 8 (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets exploited all of the Miami Heat's weaknesses.

Kidd collected 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Nets made the Heat look very ordinary in cruising to a 100-88 victory in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

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Vince Carter scored 27 points and Richard Jefferson added 20 in slightly more than a half for third-seeded New Jersey, which was swept by the Heat in the first round a year ago but wasted no time letting them know that this will be a different series.

"You don't win or lose a series in Game 1, but this is certainly a very big win," Jefferson said. "We'll have to come out just as strong in Game 2 because you know Miami will be ready to bounce back. We have to stay aggressive and attack the basket. We can't settle for just this effort."

Considered a challenger for the NBA title, second-seeded Miami struggled at times as it needed six games to dispatch Chicago in the first round. The Heat repeatedly were beaten off the dribble, made poor decisions with the ball and saw Shaquille O'Neal limited by foul trouble.

With the quickness of Kidd, Carter and Jefferson and the shooting of center Nenad Krstic, the Nets appear to have the formula for instilling fear in the Heat. Miami should be very concerned about this loss, its first at home in the postseason.

"We kept them in front of us and tried to make them get us from the outside," Kidd said. "Our perimeter defense forced them into a lot of turnovers early on. We got our hands on some balls and had some deflections and that kind of set the tone."

The Heat's inability to defend the perimeter was evident as they allowed 64 points in the first half, matching the most in franchise playoff history. Kidd and Jefferson ran wild, scoring 17 points each.

"We have to do a better job in transition," said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who scored a quiet 25 points. "They are a pretty good transition team and today they really hurt us. They got out and hit open shots, so we have to a better job of getting back and making them see five guys in Game Two."

Miami committed nine turnovers in the first quarter. Two were offensive fouls in the first five minutes by O'Neal, who sat for the rest of the period.

"We have to take care of the ball. Every time we turned it over, they pushed it right down our throats," Heat forward Antoine Walker said. "It looks like it might be one of those kinds of series where there's going to be those touchy, feely, picky fouls. We have to work through it and around it."

O'Neal, who did not speak to reporters after the game, picked up two more fouls in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third period and took another seat, which jump-started a clinching 13-0 run by the Nets. The superstar center finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, mostly in the fourth quarter.

New Jersey answered Miami's opening basket with a 12-0 run and never looked back. Making 19 of their first 25 shots, the Nets held leads of 38-21 after one period, 64-46 at halftime and 82-54 midway through the third quarter, when boos rained down on the home team.

"It was really important for us to get off to a good start," Nets coach Lawrence Franksaid. "Defensive stops led to some transition opportunities ... The ball was moving and those were great rhythm stops. We had a really good paint attack. ... It's one game. We just have to keep on getting better."

"We were just not ready in the beginning of the game," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "The No. 1 point to our players when we met was that we have to take care of the ball against them and (we) have to be real strong with the ball and get back in transition. You can't let them turn turnovers into points."

Kidd, who shot 29 percent from the field in the first round, made 9-of-17 shots and added four steals. Krstic contributed 11 points for the Nets, who shot 49 percent (34-of-70) despite a chilly final period.

Early in the third quarter, Jefferson sprained his right ankle, left the game and did not return. X-rays were negative and his status is unknown for Game 2 on Wednesday.

"I got bumped on my way up and when I came down my ankle buckled," said Jefferson, who was wearing a walking boot after the game. "I just sprained it. ... There's no swelling but we'll wait to see what the MRI shows (Tuesday) and take it from there. I can't say for sure how it will be (Wednesday) but I'm a confident person and I believe this will turn out OK."

There may have been a little something to the season series. New Jersey was a questionable call away from a four-game sweep of Miami and continued its dominance without an explosion from Carter, who averaged 38.5 points in those games.

When the Heat made a late surge and closed to 92-83 with 4:22 remaining, Carter made two free throws, a lefthanded layup around O'Neal and another free throw before Kidd's jumper sealed it at 99-86 with 1:56 left.

"We just had to remain patient and execute," said Carter, who sank 15-of-19 free throws. "We knew Miami would make a run; they're a great team and great teams do that. But we just had to stay aggressive and attack the basket."

Jason Williams scored 12 points for Miami, which shot 39 percent (27-of-69), including 4-of-22 from the arc.

"The things we talked about doing regarding Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson as a team defensively, we did not do," Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. "Anytime you dig a hole like that, it's highly unlikely you're going to come back and win."

Or as Miami backup center Alonzo Mourning said before exiting the locker room, "We got our (butts) kicked."