EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 5 (Ticker) --
After winning his
battle with Reggie Miller
, Jason Kidd
drew first blood against
the Charlotte Hornets.
Kidd once again took over down the stretch, hitting three
pivotal baskets in the final three minutes to lead the New
Jersey Nets to a 99-93 victory over the Hornets in the opener of
their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.
NBA TV highlights from|
"Jason was Jason," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "When the game
was on the line and the score was tied, I was calling his number
as much as possible."
Jason Kidd's 21 points led the Nets to victory in Game 1.|
A leading candidate for NBA Most Valuable Player honors, Kidd
helped the Nets advance to the conference semifinals for the
first time since 1984 with a career playoff-high 31 points in
Thursday's Game 5 double-overtime win over Indiana.
He scored 20 of those points after the third quarter and
outdueled Miller, who also scored 31 points and tied the game in
regulation with a 35-foot bank shot.
When the Nets most needed their All-NBA point guard, he again
was there for them down the stretch. After Elden Campbell hit
1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 91-91, Kidd made a 17-foot
jumper from the left elbow with 2:52 left to give the Nets the
lead for good.
Campbell, who scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter,
rimmed the basket on a fadeaway in the lane on Charlotte's next
Kidd took it upon himself to pad the lead for New Jersey, using
a crossover dribble to get past Baron Davis and hit a six-foot
runner in the lane with 2:21 remaining.
David Wesley threw up an airball from 3-point range and former
Net P.J. Brown missed a foul-line jumper before Campbell fouled
New Jersey's Aaron Williams, who converted both free throws to
make it 97-91 with 1:15 left.
Campbell hit a pair of free throws with 1:04 remaining, but Kidd
punctuated his performance with an electrifying driving layup
with 19 seconds left.
"The one thing is to be aggressive," Kidd said. "I was riding
my teammates for a while, so I told myself at that point, they
got us this far, so you need to do something. The big thing is
those shots presented themselves. On any given day they could
go in or you could miss them."
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday at New Jersey.
In the battle of All-Star point guards, Kidd finished with 21
points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Davis had 23
points, seven steals, six rebounds and five assists. However,
Davis had just three points in the fourth quarter -- a
three-point play with 10:44 left.
"I wasn't aware of that," said Silas when told Davis did not
score after his three-point play. "He has to be more aggressive
if that is the case."
Instead, Charlotte opted to pound the ball inside to Campbell,
who scored 13 of his team's 20 points in the period. But the
Hornets' last basket came on a 17-foot jumper by Stacey Augmon
with 4:25 remaining, giving them a 90-89 lead.
Charlotte played without leading scorer Jamal Mashburn, who is
now bothered by an inner ear infection as a result of a vitamin
B-12 deficiency, and reserve forward-center Jamaal Magloire, who
was suspended one game for a flagrant foul against Orlando's
Tracy McGrady in the first round.
Nets 7-foot Todd MacCulloch, who has been bothered by
plantar fasciaitis in his left foot, scored 11 of his playoff
career-high 14 points in the third quarter, when New Jersey
outscored Charlotte, 32-22. The Nets hit 11-of-18 shots in the
quarter while the Hornets were 7-of-22.
"That was pretty much their biggest quarter of the game," Brown
said. "Even through all of that, we were still right there and
could have won the game. They just made a few more big plays
than us and Jason stepped up big at the end."
After Davis converted a layup to give the Hornets their biggest
lead at 56-49 with 10:28 left, MacCulloch scored nine points to
highlight a 15-6 run. He hit a fadeaway jumper in the lane,
converted a three-point play and scored a pair of layups to put
the Nets ahead, 64-62, with 4:41 left.
"Todd I thought was great tonight," Scott said. "He came out
strong and played really well in the second half. That third
quarter was a great one and he really got us back in the game."
Charlotte reclaimed the lead at 71-68 on a basket and a pair of
free throws by Lee Nailon, who finished with 12 points. But the
Nets scored nine of the last 11 points in the quarter as Kidd
converted a layup and a pair of free throws.
The fourth quarter featured four lead changes and three ties
before Kidd took over.
The Nets raced to an 11-2 lead in the first 3:08 as Keith Van Horn hit a 3-pointer and a reverse layup. But Davis quickly got
his team back into it with a 3-pointer, a layup off a steal and
a dunk, pulling the Hornets within 17-15.
After a dunk by rookie Jason Collins gave New Jersey a 38-33
lead in the second quarter, Charlotte went on an 18-7 run as
guards Wesley and Davis combined for 12.
MacCulloch converted 1-of-2 free throws with 37 seconds left in
the half to pull New Jersey within 51-45.
Kenyon Martin had just 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting for New
Jersey, but Aaron Williams and Lucious Harris had 10 points each
off the bench.