EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd made sure the New Jersey Nets would not slip up against another NBA lightweight.
Kidd scored 10 points in a decisive run to end the third quarter, leading the Nets to a 99-83 victory over the struggling Miami Heat.
Despite leading the Atlantic Division, the Nets have had a penchant for playing to the level of the competition, including two losses against the league-worst Cleveland Cavaliers since the All-Star break.
"You know Pat Riley's teams are going to be tough," Kidd said. "They had nothing to lose and we had everythng to lose. We kept it together and got the win."
Facing the team with the Eastern Conference's second-worst record, the Nets were clinging to a 60-57 lead with under five minutes left in the third quarter when Kidd took over.
The dynamic point guard drilled a 3-pointer with 4:12 left, triggering a 16-4 burst to close the period. He hit another shot from beyond the arc and capped the surge with back-to-back baskets, giving the Nets a 76-61 cushion.
"He's not bad. He can take over a game when he wants to and tonight he did," Nets coach Byron Scott said.
Kidd finished with 30 points, eight assists and six rebounds as the Nets moved 1 1/2 games in front of Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey also pulled within one-half game of Detroit for the conference's best record.
For the third straight game, the Nets played without forward Kenyon Martin (sprained right knee) and guard Lucious Harris (sprained left ankle).
Brian Grant scord 23 points and rookie Caron Butler added 15 for the Heat, who have lost four straight and seven of their last eight games.
A turnaround jumper by Grant, who made 9-of-12 shots, pulled the Heat within 60-57 with 4:26 left in the third quarter. But Kidd answered with a 3-pointer 14 seconds later to fuel the decisive burst.
Kidd sank another 3-pointer with 3:35 left, and Kerry Kittles and Rodney Rogers made consecutive shots from beyond the arc, making it 72-61. Kidd hit two jumpers in the final 1:39 to cap the surge.
"I just got into a rhythm tonight and then my teammates started to look for me," Kidd said. "I just took the R.J. (Richard Jefferson) approach - when it doubt, shoot it."
"That's why he's a six- or seven-time NBA All-Star," Jefferson said. "We have to rely on him sometimes. It's great to watch. You just come to expect that from him."
Heat coach Pat Riley had a simple explanation for Kidd's performance.
"One of the candidates for Most Valuable Player just took over the game, period," Riley said. "He just didn't let his team lose tonight. That's just the mark of a great player, taking over a game that was in jeopardy."
Kidd overcame seven turnovers as he went 11-of-20 from the field, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range. As a team, New Jersey went 7-of-18 from the arc.
A disappointment after signing as a free agent, Rogers also continued to show signs of emerging from a season-long funk as he collected 12 points and seven rebounds. He scored in double figures in six of his last seven games.
Jefferson contributed 18 points and Kittles chipped in 11 for the Nets, who shot 47 percent (37-of-78) and held a 46-38 rebounding advantage. New Jersey was outrebounded, 50-33, in Wednesday's loss at New Orleans.
Jefferson did most of his damage in the first half, when he scored 12 points. The athletic forward had seven points in a 17-2 run to start the second quarter that helped the Nets open a 37-21 advantage.
"They're are one of the hardest working teams in the NBA, without a doubt," Jefferson said. "They play extremely hard so it's not very hard to get up to play them."
But the Heat closed the half with an 11-3 surge, featuring five points from Eddie House that pulled Miami within 47-41.
House netted 10 points as the Heat shot 39 percent (28-of-72) and went 24-of-35 at the line.