Jason Kidd and Antoine Wright celebrated the first anniversary of their trade from the New Jersey Nets a day early Wednesday night, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 113-98 victory over their former team.
Kidd opened the game with three early 3-pointers and scored 23 points, one shy of his season high. He also had 10 assists and a quick-handed steal against Devin Harris _ the youngster he was dealt for _ during the game-breaking third quarter
Wright was a big reason for that surge, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 13 of his 20 points in the period.
The Mavericks improved to 7-2 since Kidd was put in charge of the offense. This one was especially impressive as four starters cracked 20 points, and all five were in double figures. Josh Howard had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Erick Dampier scored 10.
New Jersey lost its fourth straight, all by at least 15 points.
Playing for the first time since a tough loss to Boston six days ago, Dallas trailed 55-52 at halftime. A few minutes later, a go-ahead jumper by Josh Howard started a 15-1 spurt that turned this game into a rout. The Mavs ended up scoring 40 points in the third quarter, their most in any quarter all season.
Thursday is the first anniversary of the swap that sent Kidd and Wright to Dallas for Harris, Trenton Hassell and others.
Harris scored 41 points in a 24-point victory over the Mavs earlier this season and was only a few days removed from his first All-Star appearance, but he didn't have the same zing this time. He went more than 20 minutes before scoring and finished with 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Hassell started but didn't score in 20 minutes, missing his only shot.
Vince Carter started 6-of-8, but missed his last 10 shots, failing to score in the second half. He finished with 15 points. Brook Lopez had 16 points and Jarvis Hayes scored 15 on 6-of-6 shooting. Keyon Dooling scored 14.
The game opened with the Nets inviting Kidd to shoot. On one play, Carter started chasing a pass into the corner, realized it was Kidd, then shook his head and went back into the lane. Kidd swished a 3-pointer, then another soon after. He didn't have a point in the second quarter, but Nowitzki scored 16 in the period, after being shut out in the first.
Kidd and Howard each scored 11 points in the third quarter.
While Kidd's offensive production is a bonus, the Mavericks need as much as they can get from Wright while Jason Terry _ the team's second-leading scorer at 19.9 points per game _ recovers from a broken hand. He scored 23 points two games before, in the first game Terry missed.
Notes:@ The Mavericks have won the last nine straight against the Nets in Dallas. ... How surprising was Kidd's 12-point quarter? He's scored less than that in 39 of 52 previous games this season. ... Nowitzki's 16 points in the second quarter tied the most by a Dallas player this season. Howard, Terry and J.J. Barea also have done it. ... Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was asked if Thursday's trading deadline is a distraction. He smiled and said, "I don't think I'm getting traded."
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