EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets were happy to return home.
After losing three of five games on a western road trip, the Nets began a five-game homestand with a convincing 87-72 victory over the Atlanta Hawks behind 22 points from Richard Jefferson.
"It was big for us to establish ourselves at home tonight," Nets forward Kenyon Martin said. "We bounced back from some tough losses and that should pick us up a little."
Jefferson, who missed two key free throws at the end of New Jersey's 96-95 loss at Seattle on Sunday, shot 9-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line. He also led the Nets with a career-high 14 rebounds.
"Richard's the type of guy that will take the blame," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "But the next day he'll forget about it. The thing about Richard is that he'll come back stronger the next game. That has been his M.O. since he got here."
Martin added 18 points, three steals and three blocked shots for the Nets, who won without a strong game from Jason Kidd. The All-Star guard shot just 3-of-13 from and had seven points, six assists and four rebounds.
"Jason Kidd is going to do 75 percent of what it takes for us to win," Jefferson said. "The rest of us have to meet him the other 25 percent and we didn't do that on the trip. Unless we want him to be tired out by the All-Star break, myself, Kenyon and Rodney (Rogers) are going to have to pick it up. We have to be aggressive and start helping him."
Rogers posted a season-high 12 points for New Jersey, shooting 5-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-3 from 3-point range. He came into the game shooting 34 percent overall and 24 percent on 3-pointers, well below what the Nets expected when they signed him as a free agent in the offseason.
Reserve swingman Dion Glover scored 16 points for the Hawks, who have lost four straight road games. Glover has led Atlanta in scoring in the last two games and is the only player besides top three scorers Glenn Robinson, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Jason Terry to lead the club.
Robinson scored only eight points, while Abdur-Rahim had 11 and Terry 12. The trio entered the game averaging 62.2 of Atlanta's 98.7 points per game.
"As a team, we have some soul-searching to do," Abdur-Rahim said. "Everybody shot bad and we couldn't concentrate. It was a pretty bad one all the way around. If we can't get up to play the Nets, I don't know who we can get up for. It looks like we weren't even excited to play. We can't let this linger. We have to make sure that this doesn't happen again."
The Hawks went just 10-of-25 on free throws, with no player shooting better than 50 percent. Abdur-Rahim shot 3-of-8 from the line.
The Nets never trailed after the first quarter and led by as many as 21 points.
New Jersey played without center Dikembe Mutombo, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right wrist. The Nets also placed guard Kerry Kittles on the injured list with a sprained left knee.