NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets may have ended their worst stretch in two years by cooling off the hottest team in the Eastern Conference.
Jason Kidd fell one rebound short of a triple-double and Brian Scalabrine tied a career high with 16 points as the Nets snapped a four-game slide with a 102-92 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, who had their eight-game winning streak stopped.
New Jersey had lost 10 of 14 games since the All-Star break, including setbacks to Cleveland and Memphis. But the Nets returned to their early season form against the Hornets and snapped a seven-game road slide in the finale of a four-game swing.
"That was the team I remember," New Jersey coach Byron Scott said. "I'm not relieved because it's not over. I'm happy that we finally got a 'W' but we can't stop here. I still believe our backs are against the wall. We have to continue to play this way for the rest of the season."
New Jersey moved two games ahead of second-place Philadelphia and 2 1/2 games in front of Boston in the Atlantic Division. The Nets play the Celtics twice and the Sixers once in their next three games.
"We're not back," Kidd said. "We have a big stretch of games here in our own conference that we have to bring the energy for. We have Boston twice and Philly, these teams are chasing us. We have to come out and act like we want it and not be the team on the defensive."
Kidd collected 17 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and Scalabrine made 7-of-9 shots as he played increased minutes due to the absence of Aaron Williams, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
"A lot of energy, that's what (Scalabrine) gives us," Scott said. "He played a terrific game tonight. I thought he was one of the main keys with winning. He was huge."
New Jersey led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter but was clinging to an 81-76 lead midway through the final period.
Scalabrine buried a runner and, after teammate Jason Collins made two free throws, sank a jumper from the top of the key for an 87-76 lead at the 6:46 mark.
"He had a big game tonight," Hornets forward P.J. Brown, a former Net, said of Scalabrine. "He just came out of nowhere, hitting running hooks and jump shots and rebounding. He was a big factor tonight."
Kidd, who scored nine points in the fourth quarter, made two jumpers and a layup in the final 95 seconds as the Nets reached 100 points for just the third time in 15 games since the break.
New Orleans native Kerry Kittles scored 20 points, Kenyon Martin added 19 and Richard Jefferson had 17 as New Jersey shot 52 percent (40-of-77) from the floor.
The Nets scored 54 points in the paint and had a 25-8 advantage in fast break points.
"We looked like our old selves," Kittles said. "We've got to continue to try to play this way. We've had some tough losses this year, especially since the break. We regained our focus tonight and that was a big step forward for us."
David Wesley scored 24 points but Jamal Mashburn made just 6-of-21 shots for 18 points as the Hornets lost for just the fourth time in 16 games.
"A lot of those shot that Mash was missing, he normally makes," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "It was just one of those nights for him."
Mashburn, who missed last year's playoff series against the Nets due to vertigo, grabbed nine rebounds but committed seven turnovers.
Jamaal Magloire collected 13 points and nine rebounds and Brown added 12 points for New Orleans, which had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Martin scored 10 points in the first quarter as New Jersey jumped out to a 26-21 lead. The Hornets scored nine straight points to take a 36-35 lead with 4:23 remaining in the first half, but Martin responded with a layup to give the Nets the lead for good.
New Jersey ended the first half on a 12-5 run and took a 47-40 halftime advantage after Kittles buried a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left.
The Nets scored seven straight points early in the third to take their largest lead at 56-42 on a 3-pointer by Kittles with 8:27 to go. They matched their 14-point cushion four times, but the Hornets used a 6-0 run to pull within 71-66 with 90 seconds left.