Nets 87, Bucks 80 (F)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Jan. 29 (AP) -- Jason Kidd refused to say whether he wants out of New Jersey. First, he showed why the Nets won't just give him away.

Kidd scored seven of his nine points in the final 1:42 and added 11 assists as the Nets snapped a nine-game losing streak with an 87-80 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Ignoring the distractions Kidd created a day earlier with his comments encouraging a trade, the Nets held the Bucks to 37.5 percent shooting and avoided their first double-digit skid since dropping their final 11 games of the 1999-00 season.

"The guy has an unbelievable ability to just focus and that's a large part of who he is,'' Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We expected nothing less from him and he obviously hit a big shot and made big free throws.''

Kidd has been frustrated with the Nets' disappointing play and finally acknowledged Monday in a story on that it might be best to trade him, saying: "It used to be if I got a triple-double, that was an automatic win. That's just not the case now. We tried to make this work. We've found out it doesn't. It's time for us all to move on.''

The Nets aren't ready to do that just yet - especially if it means making a bad deal. Even with their skid, which included six losses on a Western Conference road trip, they are in eighth place in the East.

Kidd wouldn't answer any questions about his trade wishes, but showed why Nets fans - who cheered him before the game despite the comments - would hate to see the point guard go.

"I enjoy it when the game is close,'' Kidd said, "to be a part of a play or make a shot, and that hasn't changed.''

Richard Jefferson scored 20 points and Vince Carter had 16 points and matched a season high with 12 rebounds for the Nets. Bostjan Nachbar had 14 points.

Royal Ivey scored 19 points for the Bucks, who were without leading scorer Michael Redd for the second straight game because of a left knee strain that will also keep him out of Wednesday's game at Philadelphia.

Mo Williams and Bobby Simmons each added 14 points.

"It really came down to us missing some shots,'' Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "The defense was good, we just couldn't put enough points on the board. We talked about limiting our turnovers to 12, and we had 11.''

The Nets led most of the way and had a 12-point lead with 5:48 remaining before their offense stalled. Yi Jianlian's two free throws capped an 8-0 spurt that cut the Nets' lead to 78-77 with 2:06 to play, but Kidd answered with his only field goal, a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, then set up Jefferson's jumper for an 83-77 advantage with 1:19 left.

Kidd's tough defense on Williams forced the Bucks into a turnover, and he hit two free throws for an eight-point lead. Ivey made a 3-pointer, but Kidd followed with two more free throws to put away the game.

"You've got to give New Jersey credit,'' Bucks guard Charlie Bell said. "They did a good job of denying Andrew (Bogut) the ball and taking a lot of time off the shot clock, and that forced us to take some bad shots.''

Kidd and Jefferson combined for the Nets' best stretch of the game. New Jersey led by five in the third quarter before Jefferson scored six straight points, the final four after assists from Kidd, to make it 51-40 midway through the period.

Kidd set up three more buckets by Jefferson later in the period, including a pretty bounce pass for a fastbreak layup, to help the Nets keep the lead at double digits into the final minutes of the quarter. Jefferson scored 14 points in the period, which ended with the Nets leading 61-54.

Williams' 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the first quarter gave Milwaukee a 22-20 lead. The Nets held the Bucks to just 13 points on 5-of-21 shooting in the second and led 40-35 at halftime.

Notes: The Bucks are hoping Redd returns Saturday at home against Houston. ... Krystkowiak said Desmond Mason, out since having left thumb surgery on Dec. 22, has been playing some 2-on-2 and could also return Saturday. Charlie Villanueva returned after missing last game with lower back strain and had four points. ... Nets C Jason Collins didn't play in the second half because of a bruised right knee.

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