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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- NEW JERSEY 22 12 16 27 77 CHICAGO 23 20 16 27 86 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: NJN - STEPHON MARBURY 18, AARON WILLIAMS 16, LUCIOUS HARRIS 15 CHI - ELTON BRAND 31, RON MERCER 18, RON ARTEST 14

HIGH REBOUND: NJN - AARON WILLIAMS 14, KENDALL GILL 8 CHI - ELTON BRAND 16, FRED HOIBERG 10

HIGH ASSISTS: NJN - STEPHON MARBURY 7, JOHNNY NEWMAN 3 CHI - FRED HOIBERG 6, BRYCE DREW 5

ATT: 20,362


Extended Box

NEW JERSEY (77) AT CHICAGO (86)

NEW JERSEY REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

JACKSON F 20 2-5 0-0 0 3 3 2 1 0 1 4 K MARTIN F 31 3-11 0-0 2 5 7 1 6 2 1 6 WILLIAMS C 34 6-14 4-4 3 11 14 0 6 1 0 16 GILL G 32 6-12 0-1 2 6 8 2 0 2 0 12 S MARBURY G 37 5-19 8-8 0 0 0 7 3 2 2 18 HARRIS 32 7-14 0-1 1 4 5 2 2 0 0 15 NEWMAN 17 0-2 2-4 0 1 1 3 5 0 1 2 STEPANIA 13 0-5 1-2 0 2 2 0 2 0 1 1 DOUGLAS 15 1-4 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 2 ESCHMEYER 9 0-1 1-2 2 2 4 0 1 0 1 1 MCILVAINE DNP - BACK MUSCLE STRAIN SAMAKE DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 30-87 16-22 10 34 44 19 26 8 7 77 (.345) (.727) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 9(8 PTS)

CHICAGO REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

ARTEST F 36 6-14 2-3 1 6 7 3 3 1 2 14 FIZER F 13 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 1 1 1 4 0 BRAND C 40 9-16 13-17 4 12 16 4 4 0 1 31 HOIBERG G 43 3-7 3-4 0 10 10 6 0 0 0 12 MERCER G 45 7-19 4-8 1 4 5 4 4 2 1 18 C BENJAMIN 6 1-1 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 2 DREW 32 2-7 2-2 0 0 0 5 3 0 2 7 RUFFIN 4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 MILLER 12 1-2 0-0 1 4 5 0 6 0 0 2 CRAWFORD 9 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 EL AMIN DNP - COACH'S DECISION TARLAC DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 29-72 24-34 8 41 49 24 22 4 13 86 (.403) (.706) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 13(14 PTS)

NEW JERSEY 22 12 16 27 - 77 CHICAGO 23 20 16 27 - 86

BLOCKED SHOTS: NEW JERSEY - WILLIAMS. CHICAGO - ARTEST 3, MILLER 3, BRAND 2, MERCER, HOIBERG. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: NEW JERSEY 1-16 (.063), JACKSON 0-2, S MARBURY 0-7, HARRIS 1-5, NEWMAN 0-1, DOUGLAS 0-1. CHICAGO 4-9 (.444), ARTEST 0-1, HOIBERG 3-5, DREW 1-3. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: DAN CRAWFORD, MONTY MCCUTCHEN, DEE KANTNER. A - 20,362. T - 2:15.


Box Score

NEW JERSEY (77) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Jackson 20 2-5 0-0 0-3 2 1 4 K Martin 31 3-11 0-0 2-7 1 6 6 Williams 34 6-14 4-4 3-14 0 6 16 Gill 32 6-12 0-1 2-8 2 0 12 S Marbury 37 5-19 8-8 0-0 7 3 18 Harris 32 7-14 0-1 1-5 2 2 15 Newman 17 0-2 2-4 0-1 3 5 2 Stepania 13 0-5 1-2 0-2 0 2 1 Douglas 15 1-4 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 Eschmeyer 9 0-1 1-2 2-4 0 1 1 Mcilvaine DNP - back muscle strain Samake DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 30-87 16-22 10-44 19 26 77 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.345, FT-.727. 3-Point Goals: 1-16, .063 (Jackson 0-2, S Marbury 0-7, Harris 1-5, Newman 0-1, Douglas 0-1). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 1 (Williams). Turnovers: 9 (S Marbury 2, Eschmeyer, Jackson, K Martin, Newman, Stepania). Steals: 8 (Gill 2, K Martin 2, S Marbury 2, Douglas, Williams).

CHICAGO (86) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Artest 36 6-14 2-3 1-7 3 3 14 Fizer 13 0-3 0-0 0-1 1 1 0 Brand 40 9-16 13-17 4-16 4 4 31 Hoiberg 43 3-7 3-4 0-10 6 0 12 Mercer 45 7-19 4-8 1-5 4 4 18 C Benjamin 6 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 0 2 Drew 32 2-7 2-2 0-0 5 3 7 Ruffin 4 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 Miller 12 1-2 0-0 1-5 0 6 2 Crawford 9 0-2 0-0 0-2 1 0 0 El Amin DNP - coach's decision Tarlac DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 29-72 24-34 8-49 24 22 86 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.403, FT-.706. 3-Point Goals: 4-9, .444 (Artest 0-1, Hoiberg 3-5, Drew 1-3). Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 10 (Artest 3, Miller 3, Brand 2, Mercer, Hoiberg). Turnovers: 13 (Fizer 4, Artest 2, Drew 2, Brand, C Benjamin, Crawford, Mercer, Ruffin). Steals: 4 (Mercer 2, Artest, Fizer). ____________________________________________ New Jersey 22 12 16 27 - 77 Chicago 23 20 16 27 - 86 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 20,362. T: 2:15. Officials: Dan Crawford, Monty Mccutchen, Dee Kantner.


Game Story

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Elton Brand scored 10 of his 31 points during the decisive second quarter as the Chicago Bulls coasted to their second straight home win, 86-77 over the New Jersey Nets, who ended the year with a seven-game losing streak.

Brand did most of his second-quarter scoring from the free-throw line, going 8-of-8. He also hit a layup with 2:18 left, 36 seconds before Ron Mercer made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Bulls their biggest lead of the first half at 43-33.

"Our game plan offensively was to get Elton the ball in the post instead of just at the block," explained Chicago coach Tim Floyd. "That helped him control the tempo of our offense and of the game."

Chicago stretched its advantage to 15 points in the third quarter and held on in the fourth, when New Jersey used a 10-4 run and climbed within 67-64 on a layup by Lucious Harris with 5:48 to play.

But the Bulls gradually pulled away and have won two in a row at home for the first time since February 17-19.

"There's no question we have played better since Christmas," Floyd said. "Some of that is being at home with our regular crowd. But all in all, I think this is a good game for us."

Brand also pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds and Mercer added 18 points for Chicago, which avenged a 92-82 home loss to the Nets on November 3.

"It feels good to get two wins at home," Brand said. "We're playing with a lot of confidence right now."

Stephon Marbury had 18 points and seven assists but made just 5-of-19 shots from the field for New Jersey, which got 16 points and 14 rebounds from Aaron Williams. But the Nets head into the new year reeling.

They were coming off Thursday's heartbreaking 112-111 loss to Boston in which they misplayed an inbounds pass with 1.8 seconds left and watched Milt Palacio nail a wild 30-footer at the buzzer.

"There were some embarrassing things that happened to us in the first half. We came out with no energy at all. Guys didn't look like they wanted to play," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "They finally woke up in the fourth quarter, but it was a little late."

New Jersey shot better than 52 percent (11-of-21) in the first quarter, but Fred Hoiberg nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Chicago a 23-22 lead.

The Nets went ice cold in the second quarter, making just 4-of-26 shots as the Bulls took control. Evan Eschmeyer, who attended nearby Northwestern, gave New Jersey its last lead at 27-26 by making 1-of-2 free throws with 7:50 left in the period.

Mercer's 19-foot put Chicago in front for good nine seconds later and Bryce Drew also hit a long jumper before Brand scored the Bulls' next six points from the line for a 36-29 lead. A layup by Artest answered two free throws by Marbury and Brand made two more foul shots before a dunk by Williams ended a nearly eight-minute stretch in which the Nets made one basket.

"We really wanted to pound them inside early and get after them," Brand said. "I thought our defense on Marbury by Mercer was a key to the game. We controlled the tempo and hopefully, we learned something by that today."

New Jersey wasn't much better in the third quarter, shooting under 32 percent (6-of-19), as Chicago took a 59-50 lead into the final period.

The Nets twice got within three points and trailed 77-73 after Williams made two free throws with 2:10 to play. But Marbury missed three 3-pointers in the final 97 seconds and the Bulls held on.

"This certainly wasn't one of my better games," Marbury said. "We didn't have much energy at all. When we got going in the fourth quarter we made a nice little run. But you've to remember, we're playing the team with the worst record in the NBA. It shows you if you don't play hard, no matter who you're playing, you're going to get beat."

Hoiberg had season highs with 12 points and 10 rebounds, adding six assists for Chicago, which shot just over 40 percent (29-of-72), made 24-of-34 free throws and owned a 49-44 rebounding advantage.

Harris scored 15 points off the bench and Kendall Gill had 12 and eight rebounds for the Nets, who committed only seven turnovers but shot 34.5 percent (30-of-87) and were just 1-of-16 from beyond the arc.

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