March 5, 2002 at Los Angeles
Lakers 101, Nets 92

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High points: Shaquille O'Neal, 40
High rebounds: Keith Van Horn, 14
High assists: Jason Kidd, 10

LOS ANGELES, March 5 (Ticker) -- After squandering a double-digit lead with poor free-throw shooting, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Jersey Nets from the line.

Shaquille O'Neal had a tribute ready for Kobe Bryant when Bryant sat out the Lakers' March 5 game against New Jersey.
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Shaquille O'Neal had 40 points and 12 rebounds and Derek Fisher scored 16 points off the bench as the Lakers found their touch from the foul line in the closing minutes for a 101-92 victory over the Nets.

The Lakers led by as many as 18 in the third quarter and had a 68-53 cushion with 3:47 left in the period before the Nets went on a 24-7 surge. Lucious Harris scored 12 of his 17 points during the burst and gave New Jersey its first lead since the second quarter, 77-75, on a pair of throws with 6:33 to play.

"We got on a streak where we started to make shots," said Nets coach Byron Scott, a former Lakers star. "Unfortunately we couldn't make enough of them. We never really got into a flow and in the fourth quarter we went cold again."

"It was a game of momentum," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "There certainly was a swing in the second half. But we were able to start converting our free throws and salt the game away."

April 3, 2002 at New Jersey
Nets 94, Lakers 92

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High points: Kobe Bryant, 33
High rebounds: Samaki Walker, 14
High assists: Jason Kidd, 11

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., April 3 (Ticker) -- Even without Shaquille O'Neal, the Los Angeles Lakers provided a major test for the New Jersey Nets.

Rookie Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd each made huge shots in the final two minutes as the Nets rallied after blowing a big lead for a 94-92 victory over the Lakers, who were without the injured O'Neal.

New Jersey sits atop the Eastern Conference but still has to prove itself against the league's elite teams, most of whom are in the West. O'Neal was sidelined with a sprained wrist, but the Lakers defeated the Nets without Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center on March 5.

"We were playing the best team in the league," New Jersey coach Byron Scott said. "Those guys have a lot of pride and they have the biggest heart in the league. Even without Shaq, they want to make a statement."