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Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2002 12:13 AM EST
NBA RECAP
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New Jersey 106, Minnesota 82
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Minnesota Timberwolves
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NEW JERSEY NETS
New Jersey Nets
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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets have to be happy with the offseason trade they didn't make.

Richard Jefferson scored 17 of his 22 points in the third quarter and Jason Kidd had 10 and 12 assists as the Nets remained unbeaten with a 106-82 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Trade rumors surrounded New Jersey in the offseason, including one that proposed Minnesota's Kevin Garnett coming to the Meadowlands for Kenyon Martin, Keith Van Horn and Jefferson.

But the Nets dealt Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch to Philadelphia for Dikembe Mutumbo instead and the new combination of players is working just fine.

New Jersey has won its first four games for just the second time in franchise history. The Nets went 4-0 during the 1997-98 season before finishing with 43 wins.

"We're happy that we've played some talented teams and we've been very fortunate," Kidd said. "So to start off 4-0, we cannot get complacent and feel that it is a walk in the park. We have to go out there and get better each day, and this team is up to that challenge."

Lucious Harris scored 16 points off the bench for New Jersey, which had five players in double figures and remained the only unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference.

"I don't think it matters if you get off to a good start and people say you are supposed to do that," Jefferson said. "You get off to a bad start and people are asking a bunch of questions as to what is wrong with the team. Either way, there is still going to be questions asked and things that are going to be dealt with."

The Timberwolves had a 39-38 lead with 2:35 left in the first half, but the Nets responded with a 27-6 run that carried into the third quarter. Kidd scored all 10 of his points during the burst and capped it with a layup to give New Jersey a 65-45 cushion with 4:58 to go in third.

Jefferson was 7-of-7 from the floor in the third quarter as the Nets scored a season-high 39 points. They made 14-of-21 shots from the floor and 10-of-12 free throws.

New Jersey had its largest lead at 97-69 after a driving layup by Brian Scalabrine with 5:05 left in the game.

"The second half was a great half for us on both ends of the court," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "I thought we started the third quarter very aggressively on the defensive end and that got us going. We did a great job in the third and fourth quarter just getting up and down the court and being in attack mode."

The Nets improved to 3-0 at Continental Airlines Arena after leading the Eastern Conference with a 33-8 home record last season.

Garnett had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Troy Hudson added 10 points and seven assists for the Timberwolves, who have lost consecutive games after a 2-0 start.

Reggie Slater scored 10 points off the bench for Minnesota, which committed a franchise-record 29 turnovers leading to 39 points for New Jersey.

"You can't turn the ball over 30 times against a team like the New Jersey Nets and expect to have any kind of success," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "When you turn the ball over and the other team gets 20 more shots, then it puts you in a bad position."

The Timberwolves used a 13-2 run in the first quarter to build a 23-13 lead. Garnett had a 3-pointer and layup during the burst, but the Nets closed the quarters with a 9-2 run to pull within 25-22.


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