It's been four seasons since the Nets closed the book on Keith Van Horn's enigmatic New Jersey career.
Saturday night, however, Van Horn showed the Nets and Rod Thorn that he still can shoot a pretty three-pointer.
The man once billed as Nets' franchise buried his old team under a three-point barrage. He drilled his first seven shots, including five three-point bombs, to help Dallas continue its mastery over the Nets with a 110-77 rout.
"We didn't bring our 'A' game," said Vince Carter, who scored 17 points. "We didn't even bring our 'B' game. Our last two (losses), we looked like a team that wanted to go home."
Van Horn scored 21 of his season-high 23 points in 11 scintillating first-half minutes to help Dallas defeat the Nets for the 11th straight time and send them limping home with a three-game losing streak.
Van Horn, though, was just one of many problems for the Nets. Dallas (27-10) made eight of its first 10 three-point attempts and Josh Howard scored a season-high 29 points as the explosive Mavericks simply outclassed the Nets (19-15).
The Nets haven't won a game without Richard Jefferson, who missed his third straight due to a stiff back. Jefferson admitted that he suffered a setback on Thursday while attempting to get himself ready to play against Memphis on Friday. The small forward, who experienced back spasms and lasted just two minutes against the Raptors last Sunday, hopes to return tomorrow for the matinee home game against the Pacers.
"It felt really good after (Wednesday's) practice," Jefferson said. "Then I tried to do more stuff Thursday when we were still in San Antonio and it went backwards a little bit. . . . It was my fault, I tried to do too much."
There didn't seem to be much the Nets could do without Jefferson once Dallas hit the pedal. The Nets turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter and the Mavericks turned the miscues into 16 points. Dallas led 32-17 just before the end of the quarter.
Then it was the Van Horn show.
Van Horn made five straight three-pointers in a blurring four-minute, 20-second stretch. By the time Van Horn stopped shooting, the Nets trailed 53-29 with 5:58 left in the half. Kenyon Martin certainly would have liked to have seen this Van Horn show up in the 2002 Finals. It was after the Lakers' sweep of that series that Martin made thinly veiled comments criticizing Van Horn for his seven-point effort in that decisive Game 4.
Van Horn might've stuck around in New Jersey if he played like he did in the second quarter Saturday night, though.
"I hit the first couple and I was just letting it go," said Van Horn, who had made only five of 20 three-point attempts in his previous 11 games. "You start to forget about everything and that's what I did."
Despite Jason Kidd (19 points) making his first six shots, the Nets trailed by as much as 93-55 with 1:12 remaining in the third quarter.
"We're all accountable for this type of performance, and it's embarrassing," Frank said.
NBA star LeBron James committed to playing for the United States at this year's world basketball championships and the 2008 Olympics.
"It's officially official in his case and I know he's excited about it," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball. "He's obviously one of the core guys you want because of his talent, his age, his maturity at a very young age."
Colangelo met with James before the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, but thought the 21-year-old Cavs' star already had committed in a meeting in Chicago on December 22. However, James was quoted as saying he still had to talk to Colangelo before making any commitment.
"So I visited with him...to confirm that everything's OK and absolutely it is," Colangelo said. "He said 'Well, what should I tell the media?' and I said 'Tell them you're in, because that's what I'm going to tell them."
James said after the game that his talk with Colangelo eased any qualms he had about being involved.
"I just wanted a more clear vision of what I was getting myself into this time around," he said. "I kind of had a vision but really didn't the last time, and I suffered because of it. But he came to me, gave me a great explanation. We sat down and we talked and came up with some great things and I feel comfortable about it."
In other NBA action: Washington 114, Atlanta 106, OT; Detroit 114, Charlotte 91; Dallas 110, New Jersey 77; San Antonio 80, Memphis 79; Indiana 91, Chicago 89; Miami 100, Utah 94; Denver 100, Milwaukee 93; New Orleans 86, Houston 80; LA Clippers 98, Seattle 72; LA Lakers 110, Golden State 104.