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Updated: Saturday, November 23, 2002 12:28 AM EST
NBA RECAP
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New Jersey 120, Cleveland 79
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Cleveland Cavaliers
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NEW JERSEY NETS
New Jersey Nets
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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets followed their worst performance of the season with their best quarter.

Jason Kidd scored 11 of his 16 points in a red-hot first period as the Nets got off to a fast start and rolled to a 120-79 victory over the reeling Cleveland Cavaliers, who have lost nine straight games.

New Jersey scored a season-low 79 points in its most lopsided loss of the season at Boston on Wednesday. But the Nets bounced back at home and jumped on the Cavaliers with a dominant first quarter.

Kidd made 5-of-7 shots as New Jersey shot 80 percent (16-of-20) in the first 12 minutes. The Nets made 14 of their first 15 shots and jumped out to a 32-21 lead just over nine minutes into the game.

"We need to do that all the time if we're going to win a championship," New Jersey coach Byron Scott said. "We can't wait until we are embarrassed and then respond. We have to understand that every team is going to try to beat us and if they do it's just a notch on their belt. We came out with a lot of energy."

"We have to come out with that swagger and play 48 minutes," Kidd said. "Getting off to a good start and letting Cleveland know it's not going to be an easy game for them. That's been our trademark and we got back to that tonight."

Kenyon Martin and Dikembe Mutombo each scored eight points and were perfect from the field in the first quarter as the Nets mounted a 37-22 lead.

The excellent start nearly assured victory for New Jersey, which is 7-0 this season when leading after the opening quarter.

Martin had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Anthony Johnson scored 13 points off the bench as the Nets had eight players in double figures en route to their highest scoring game of the season.

Mutombo and Richard Jefferson scored 12 points apiece, rookie Tamar Slay added 11 and Rodney Rogers and Jason Collins each had 10 for New Jersey, which shot 54 percent (44-of-82) from the field and had a 36-13 advantage in fast-break points.

"We came out and we were hitting shots and they were hitting shots, but we stayed with it," Jefferson said. "You play so many games, you are going to win games and you are going to lose games. It's a matter of going out there and playing with consistency."

Rookie Smush Parker scored a season-high 18 points and Carlos Boozer added 16 and 11 rebounds for the Cleveland, which shot just 40 percent (30-of-76) en route to its seventh straight road loss.

The Cavs committed a season-high 31 turnovers - one shy of the franchise record - which led to 47 points for the opportunistic Nets.

"It felt like 59 (turnovers)," Cleveland coach John Lucas said. "They would come in bunches. Smush turned the ball over three times in a row and then Jumaine (Jones) turned the ball over three times in a row. These things hurt us."

The Cavaliers played without leading rebounder Tyrone Hill, who sat out with the flu.

"They have a better team than us and we were shorthanded," said Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who scored 13 points. "Right now we have a lot of guys on the injured list. We played poorly and didnt shoot the ball well."

Cleveland pulled within 80-66 just 26 seconds into the fourth quarter, but New Jersey closed the game on a 40-13 run.

Johnson and Slay each scored all their points in the final period, when the Nets shot 63 percent (15-of-24) and scored a season-high 40 points.


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