SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Richard Jefferson gave the Seattle SuperSonics a chance and Brent Barry took it.
After Jefferson missed the potential clinching free throws, Barry drilled a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left that gave the SuperSonics a thrilling 96-95 victory over the New Jersey Nets.
Down the stretch, Jason Kidd outdueled fellow Oakland native Gary Payton, scoring five straight points to give New Jersey a 95-91 lead with 14 seconds remaining. Desmond Mason, who earlier missed a potential tying jumper, sank a 15-footer to make it 95-93 with 10 seconds to go.
The Nets inbounded to Jefferson, who was fouled with 9.8 seconds left. A 73 percent foul shooter, Jefferson missed both shots.
Vladimir Radmanovic rebounded and Seattle opted not to call timeout. Mason dribbled quickly upcourt and into the lane before passing into the right corner to Barry, whose 3-pointer splashed through.
"We pushed up the ball and Dez made a great kick-out," Barry said. "It looked like he was going to drive to the hoop and there was a lot of space out there on the 3-point line, so it felt good to make that one."
"I was trying to create a play for a three, thinking that he would hit at least one," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "We got a break; he missed both. We run that break. We spread wide and we try to get into the paint or take the jump shot."
Nets coach Byron Scott was less disturbed by the missed free throws than his team's defense.
"We have to understand that when we are up two points, we can't allow three," Scott said. "Especially wide open, especially to Brent Barry."
"When I saw him catch the ball in the corner, he was so wide-open," Sonics forward Rashard Lewis said. "He slowed down, took his time and I knew it was going in, 'cause he's a good shooter and he didn't rush his shot."
After a timeout, Kidd tried to win it with a driving shot, but Mason soared to block it as time expired.
"We felt that we had the game under control, but that's why you have to finish the game," Kidd said. "It's not over 'til it's over."
The scenario was reminiscent of last season's playoffs, when Jefferson - as a rookie - missed a pair from the line leading to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Indiana's Reggie Miller that pushed Game Five of the first round into overtime.
"I need to do my part and I didn't," Jefferson said. "I hadn't missed a free throw the last game and I had hit my first two tonight, so I was just in a rhythm. You are expected to come through when you are put in those kind of situations. It's kinda like a field goal kicker. Your job is to close it out and I didn't do that."
Jefferson's misses undid some good work by Kidd, who had 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and took over in the fourth quarter for the second straight night. On Saturday, he lifted the Nets to a win at Portland.
Payton had 28 points and 10 rebounds. Barry scored 14 points and Mason added 12 for the Sonics, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"Man, this is a strange game," McMillan said. "We needed a little luck on our side." "We needed it. We couldn't lose another one," Payton added. "Things happened for us. Luck was on our side today."
Lucious Harris scored 23 points in his first start of the season for the Nets, who went 2-3 on their five-game road trip. They have lost 16 of their last 18 visits to Seattle.
The fourth quarter had three ties and six lead changes. A 3-pointer by Rodney Rogers gave the Nets an 82-81 lead with 5:56 left and Harris added two free throws 24 seconds later.
After Nets forward Kenyon Martin fouled out for the third straight game, a 3-pointer by Barry cut the deficit to 88-87 with 2:47 left. Harris answered with a jumper, but Lewis made a baseline jumper and Payton took a steal all the way in for a layup and a 91-90 lead with 1:44 remaining.
Kidd took charge. He drew a foul and made a free throw and sank a tough driving layup after a steal to give the Nets a 93-91 lead with 1:15 to go. After Mason and Kidd missed jumpers, Radmanovic was called for an offensive foul and Kidd sank a pair from the line, setting up the frantic finish.
"I thought he was aggressive," Scott said. "I wanted to push the ball and get the tempo up. If we got a rebound, I wanted us to get it to Jason."
Lewis scored 14 points for Seattle, which shot 46 percent (39-of-84) from the field and held a 44-37 rebounding advantage.
Jefferson scored 14 points and Martin added nine and nine rebounds for New Jersey, which shot 42 percent (33-of-78) and made 21-of-28 free throws.
Harris started at guard for Kerry Kittles, who suffered a bruised left knee in Saturday's win over Portland. Center Dikembe Mutombo missed his second straight game with a sprained right wrist.