EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- A game that was supposed to be a laugher turned into a desperate struggle for the suddenly punchless New Jersey Nets.
Kenyon Martin scored 28 points and Jason Kidd atoned for a sub-par effort with a strong stretch run as the Nets rallied for an 84-79 victory over the last-place Miami Heat.
After rookie Rasual Butler's 3-pointer with 9:57 left gave Miami a 68-60 lead, Kidd scored nine points and dished out five assists to lead the Nets on a 24-11 game-ending run.
With the Nets clinging to a 79-77 edge in the final minute, Kidd drained a 3-pointer with six seconds left, a hair before the shot clock expired.
Kidd finished with 12 points and 10 assists for the Atlantic Division leaders, who avoided consecutive home losses for the first time this season with just their second win in five games.
"I tried to get the other guys involved," said Kidd, who was a quiet 4-of-6 from the field. "It doesn't always have to come to me, shooting the ball 15 or 16 times a night to win."
Rookie Caron Butler scored 17 points and Rasual Butler finished with 15 for the Heat, who were without injured leading scorer Eddie Jones for the fourth straight game.
"It's the same thing all the time with our team," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We got off to bad starts the last three games. We got back into (this) game in the second quarter, we really played well in the third and took the lead. We were 7-for-21 in the the fourth."
The Heat, who can include a 31-point loss at Detroit on Monday among three consecutive defeats, sank only two baskets over the last 5 1/2 minutes.
Martin shot 11-of-22 from the field, which actually was better than his performance from the line. Martin went 6-of-13 from the stripe for New Jersey, which hit 26-of-36 free throws.
"I really tried to come out tonight," said Martin, who scored 19 points in the first half. "I tried to start the game off on the right note, but it just went back to the way we had been playing."
The Heat got to the foul line just 16 times, hitting 10.
Martin grabbed 10 rebounds, none bigger than the airball by Lucious Harris that fell into his arms with 10 seconds left. After catching Harris' jumper from the right elbow, Martin alertly swung the ball out to the top of the key to Kidd, who just beat the shot clock.
"Lu was under distress, and he threw up a shot I thought he would make," Kidd said. "K-Mart came up with the rebound and threw it out to me. I knew the shot clock was down, my intention was just to get it up and it went in."
"I really didn't get a chance to put a body on Kenyon," said Miami's Brian Grant, who finished with 13 points and eight boards. "The guy missed it so bad that he threw it right into Kenyon's hands. We just needed one more rebound. We had opportunities."
The Nets led by as many as 17 in the second quarter, but fell behind by a 60-57 margin on Caron Butler's 18-footer with 63 seconds left in the third period.
The Nets, who failed to score more than 90 points for the fifth straight game, regained the lead for good at 78-76 on a three-point play by Jason Collins with 1:50 remaining in the game.
"A win is a win," said Nets coach Byron Scott, who improved to 7-4 against Riley, his coach with the great Los Angeles Lakers teams of the 1980s. "I don't say it often, but Miami is one of those teams that force you to play a little different."
Eddie House scored 11 points for the Heat, which shot 40 percent (30-of-75) from the field but hit 9-of-17 3-pointers. Rasual Butler paced Miami from long range with five baskets from the arc.
New Jersey led at halftime, 47-39, but shot just 3-of-14 from the field and committed five turnovers in the third period.
Each team suffered prolonged offensive droughts, as the Heat scored 13 points in the first quarter while New Jersey totaled just 13 in the third.