EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets raised a pair of banners and raced to a big lead before the Atlanta Hawks nearly erased it.
Jason Kidd had 16 points and 12 assists to lead a balanced attack as the Nets withstood a furious comeback by the Hawks to open the season with a 105-94 victory.
New Jersey celebrated last season's run to the NBA Finals by hanging banners for winning the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Nets never trailed after the game's first six minutes and built an 88-69 lead on two free throws by Rodney Rogers with 7:14 left.
But Atlanta roared back with a 17-2 spurt. Alan Henderson's follow shot cut the deficit to 90-86 with just over four minutes remaining.
Nets newcomer Dikembe Mutombo made 1-of-2 at the line and Kidd followed with a big defensive play. Caught in a mismatch guarding the 6-8 Glenn Robinson, the 6-4 Kidd tipped away a pass by Jason Terry and went the distance for a layup and a 93-86 lead.
A long jumper by Robinson pulled the Hawks within 96-92 with 1:47 to go. Rather than walk the ball up, Kidd pushed it and fed Kenyon Martin for an easy basket 12 seconds later. He added a basket with 63 seconds left for a 100-92 edge.
Martin and Richard Jefferson each scored 15 points as New Jersey placed six players in double figures. Mutombo, Kerry Kittles and reserve Lucious Harris each added 13.
Robinson had a strong debut with Atlanta after spending the first eight years of his career with Milwaukee. He just missed a triple-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.