Jefferson scores 28 points to lead Nets’ blowout
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—In lieu of a fourth straight triple-double, Jason Kidd gladly watched the fourth quarter on the bench at the end of a blowout.
Richard Jefferson scored 28 points and the New Jersey Nets cruised to a 99-88 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday night in a rout that prevented Kidd from becoming the first player to record four straight triple-doubles since Michael Jordan in 1989.
“If I was 6-8, the rebounds would have come a little easier,” Kidd said after finishing with 16 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. “I would rather take the rest and get the win. If I had had nine rebounds, maybe. At five, I’ll let someone else lead the team in rebounds.”
Kidd played just under 29 minutes, well below his 37.6 minute average.
“Anytime you can play 28 minutes and get a win, it’s huge,” Kidd said after finishing the second of back-to-back games. “Especially with all the minutes I’ve been logging the last couple of weeks. I get a day off tomorrow and then get ready for Boston (on Friday).”
Jordan eventually extended his triple-double streak to seven games, two less than the NBA record set by Wilt Chamberlain in the 1967-68 season.
Vince Carter added 18 points and eight rebounds as the Nets won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Reserve Johan Petro tied his career high with 22 points for Seattle, which lost its fifth in a row and seventh in eight games. Nick Collison tied his season high with 18 points, while rookie Kevin Durant, who sprained an ankle against Cleveland on Tuesday night, added 15.
“We’ve hit a bit of a lull,” Collison said. “We haven’t had the extra spark we need. Earlier, we competed hard. Being a young team we are going to have to play harder than the other team to win. We haven’t done that the last few games. It’s not a situation where it is God-awful and everyone is dogging it. But we need the extra push and fire to win games.”
The Nets’ big three of Kidd, Carter and Jefferson combined to hit 25 of 43 from the field and eight of 14 from 3-point range. New Jersey shot 48 percent from the field and 50 percent from long range.
“Those guys are really good and I thought they played well tonight,” Carlesimo said. “But I also think we have to give them more resistance. We didn’t make it uncomfortable enough, particularly for Richard and Vince. We have to bump them and be more physical.”
Kidd seemed on his way to his 11th triple-double of the season and the 98th of his career after collecting eight points, five assists and four rebounds in the first quarter.
The All-Star point guard broke a 21-all tie and triggered a 9-0 spurt with one of his four 3-pointers. Malik Allen, who had 15 points, added a turnaround jumper, Bostjan Nachbar hit two free throws and Jefferson scored on a steal and slam dunk for a 30-21 lead.
Seattle cut the lead to 36-33 on a jumper by Petro (10-of-15 shooting) midway through the second quarter, but Kidd, Jefferson and Carter answered.
Kidd hit a 3-pointer off a Carter assist, Jefferson scored on a reserve layup and Carter nailed a 3 off a Jefferson assist for a 44-33 lead.
“I was able to hit some shots early,” Jefferson said. “We had good defense, which opened up the floor. That’s normally when Jason and I are at our best.”
The lead was 13 points at the half, 15 at the end of the third quarter and as many as 20 points in the final quarter.
Seattle only made it close in garbage time.
Kidd has 1,287 career 3-pointers, moving him into sole possession of 14th place in NBA history ahead of Mookie Blaylock (1,283). … Kidd is six assists shy of passing Knicks coach Isiah Thomas (9,061) for fifth place in league history. … New Jersey swept the two-game season series with the SuperSonics. … The Nets are now 10-1 in game in which they have not trailed by double digits. They are 8-16 in games they have fallen behind by more than 10 points. … The SuperSonics return home after an 0-4 road trip.