With the regular season winding down and first place in the Atlantic Division up for grabs, the New Jersey Nets are showing signs that their recent slump may be over.
Lucious Harris broke out of a two-month shooting slump with 24 points, and the first-place Nets won consecutive games for the first time since mid-February with a 90-75 win last night over the visiting Boston Celtics.
"I think the last two games, we understood what's at stake," Jason Kidd said after collecting 13 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds. "We put ourselves in this position. During the season you have your ups and downs.
"Now it's at the point where you can't have big downs."
The victory increased the Nets' lead in the Atlantic Division to two games over idle Philadelphia, and three games over Boston.
New Jersey will play the 76ers at home Sunday and will face the Celtics on the road Tuesday as part of a stretch that could give the Nets some breathing room.
"This was a great way to start," Nets Coach Byron Scott said. "We did what we're supposed to do."
* SUPERSONICS 107, MAVERICKS 100: Rashard Lewis atoned for his worst game of the season with 30 points, leading Seattle at home.
Ray Allen added 29 points for the Sonics, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 to lead the Mavericks, who still have the league's best record at 48-16. Dallas, coming off a home loss to Minnesota on Monday night, began a three-game West Coast trip.
Nick Van Exel added 26 points for the Mavericks, and Steve Nash had 18.
Allen made 11 of 18 shots, including a driving layup he converted into a three-point play when he was fouled by Nowitzki. The free throw gave Seattle a 100-94 lead with 1 minute 28 seconds to play.
* SUNS 109, KINGS 84: Shawn Marion scored 18 of his 27 points in the third period, and Phoenix ended visiting Sacramento's four-game winning streak.
Stephon Marbury added 26 points for Phoenix, which dealt the Kings their worst loss of the season.