EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Kidd didn't much resemble an MVP, which didn't really matter with Lucious Harris playing as well as any sixth man in the league.
Harris shot 10-for-11 and scored 24 points Tuesday night as the New Jersey Nets overcame foul trouble and a subpar performance from Kidd to defeat Charlotte 102-88 for a 2-0 lead over the Hornets in their best-of-seven series.
Harris had his own personal 6-0 run after the Hornets pulled within three points with 5 1/2 minutes left, leading to a chant of "Lu-cious Har-ris" that was many times louder than the defiant "M-V-P" chants Kidd heard before player introductions.
New Jersey pulled away from there, closing the game with a 16-5 run.
The Nets, who have felt all year that no one gives them the proper respect, entered this game feeling more snubbed than ever after Kidd failed to win the MVP award and Byron Scott lost out to Rick Carlisle in voting for coach of the Year.
"I have a sense that one thing we are going to use for motivation tonight is that we are still not getting any respect," Scott said.
They didn't get any from the referees who put their big men into foul trouble early, but they likely earned it from the Hornets by playing a scrappier game and getting a big boost from their reserves.
Keith Van Horn added 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Richard Jefferson came off the bench to score 10. Harris reached 20 points for the fourth time this season and the first time in 41 games.
Kidd missed nine consecutive shots at one point and finished 5-for-18 from the field with 11 points, six assists and three rebounds. Charlotte point guard Baron Davis had the gaudier stat line with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds, but he went scoreless for more than 15 minutes in the second half before making a meaningless free throw with 35 seconds left. Davis was 1-for-6 at the line.
David Wesley scored 17 points and Elden Campbell added 15 for the Hornets, who also fell into a 2-0 deficit in the second round a year ago before coming back to win their next three games against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Game 3 is Thursday in Charlotte.
The Nets held an 86-74 lead after Kenyon Martin scored with 8:25 left, but Charlotte came storming back with a 9-0 run to make it a three-point game. Harris ended the run with a corner jumper, Martin blocked a shot by Davis and Harris turned it into a fast-break bucket to make it 90-83.
A short jumper from the opposite corner gave New Jersey a 92-83 edge, and Charlotte never threatened thereafter.
Just like what happened in Game 1, the Nets got a huge boost from center Todd MacCulloch in the third quarter - this time while being defended by Jamaal Magloire instead of Robert Traylor.
After Magloire checked in and hit a short hook shot for a 64-59 lead, MacCulloch scored three baskets and assisted on a 3-pointer by Van Horn in a 10-0 run that gave New Jersey a 69-64 lead.
Martin and MacCulloch each picked up their fourth fouls midway through the third quarter, but Scott did not take either player out.
A 3-pointer by Van Horn made it 72-66 late in the quarter, and Kidd drove around Davis for a tough left-handed layup with 1.9 seconds left to give the Nets an 80-72 lead entering the fourth.
The Nets found themselves in foul trouble early in the game, MacCulloch picking up two fouls in the first 33 seconds and backup center Aaron Williams getting his third with 3:13 left in the first.
But Charlotte couldn't capitalize, getting just one point from their starting frontcourt players in the first 12 minutes.
Campbell didn't make his first field goal until 9:26 remained before halftime, and New Jersey controlled the boards in the first half and had 20 second-chance points. Harris scored six points off offensive rebounds and finished the half 6-for-6 from the field, while Jefferson had nine at the half as New Jersey held a 53-50 lead.
Notes: The game was a sellout, drawing 20,049. Game 1 was almost 1,000 seats short of a full house. ... Harris' season-high was 23 points against Dallas on Jan. 21. ... Jamal Mashburn's availability for Game 3 or 4 is in doubt. "I talked to him this morning. He still has dizziness and lack of energy," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "The problem is that this a viral infection that has to run its course. It's not bacterial where you can use antibiotics to clear it out. We just have to wait it out. How long that's going to be, we don't know."
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