EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Kerry Kittles, Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets built up big enough of a lead that even they could close it out.
Kittles collected 25 points and 11 rebounds and Kidd added 14 and a season-high 18 assists as the Nets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-99, to snap a two-game home losing streak.
Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin scored 17 points apiece for New Jersey, which had lost an NBA-worst four games after the All-Star break when leading after three quarters. It won for just the fourth time in 10 games.
"This was a good win for us," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "This team embarrassed us the last time we played them (a 97-90 loss on February 12 in which the Nets scored a franchise record-low eight first-quarter points). I thought when we started the game we had a lot of energy. The guys were up defending and I thought that really got us going on the offensive end."
In this contest, the Nets started so strongly that it did not matter. Kittles had 17 points, Jefferson and Martin 11 apiece and Kidd 12 assists in the first half, which ended with the Nets ahead, 64-43. New Jersey shot 68 percent (25-of-37) from the field in the opening 24 minutes.
"Everybody was touching the ball and getting shots to go down," Kidd said. "We were getting back cuts and getting out on the fast break, so in that case I was getting the ball to the right guy."
"They were 11-for-12 on fast breaks in the first half and they just buried us," Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. "We tried everything (on defense) - full-court press, zone and man-to-man. No mattter what the combination, they ate us up."
After Kidd made a layup to begin the second-half scoring and give the Nets their biggest lead, the Grizzlies chipped away, climbing within 85-75 entering the fourth quarter.
But every time Memphis seemed on the verge of making a run down the stretch, Kittles or Kidd would answer with a basket. The Grizzles got no closer than 104-97 on a hook by Lorenzen Wright with 1:17 left.
"They played hard until the end. You have to give them credit for coming back and not quitting," Kidd said. "(But) we finished the game the right way, by getting the ball to the open guy and they made shots. That helped our fourth-quarter woes because we had been struggling closing games out."
"I thought for about three or four minutes in the third quarter we got a little soft as far as really getting after the Grizzlies," Scott said. "After that, we got back to that mind-set of really guarding the guys and really being aggressive."
Jason Williams totaled 24 points and 11 assists and Pau Gasol chipped in 21 points for the Grizzlies, who allowed the Nets to shoot 54 percent (40-of-74) overall.
"I think we played pretty well tonight despite giving up the threes late in the game," Kittles said. "The defense was pretty good, we did a good job on Gasol despite Williams getting threes late in the game. We kept them pretty much in check."
With the win, New Jersey opened a 1 1/2-game edge over Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead and moved within 1 1/2 games of Detroit for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
"We tried to prepare our guys for their urgency and the fact that they are fighting for a division title," Brown said. "We knew their energy would be right at maximum. Unfortunately for us, we had one of our worst defensive efforts in the first half. We did not match their energy at all."
"Our intensity was there tonight," Scott said. "I thought we were in it for the whole game. Guys were making a heck of an effort on both ends of the court, especially defensively."