EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ, May 7 (Ticker) --
The New Jersey Nets
believe that Jason Kidd
should be the NBA's Most Valuable
Player. But they are more than a one-player team.
scored a playoff career-high 24 points to lead a
huge effort by the bench as the Nets posted a 102-88 victory
over the Charlotte Hornets to grab a 2-0 lead in their Eastern
Conference semifinal series.
Kidd never found his touch as he made 5-of-18 shots for 11
points and added six assists. But Harris made his first six
attempts and rookie Richard Jefferson
finished with 10 points as
New Jersey's reserves scored 40 points. Meanwhile, the Nets held Charlotte's star point guard Baron Davis
to just one fourth quarter point to seal the deal.
"We have a very good basketball team," Nets coach Byron Scott
said. "It's not just about Jason Kidd. We have other guys who
have been stepping up all season long. For Jason not to have
one of his best games and we still win by double digits says a
lot about the other guys on the team."
Todd MacCulloch was massive in the third quarter, scoring all six of his points to help the Nets regain momentum.|
Charlotte took a 64-59 lead with 5:11 left in the third quarter
when Jamaal Magloire
threw in a hook. Todd MacCulloch
with four fouls, scored six straight points in a 10-0 run that
gave New Jersey the lead for good at 69-64 with just under three
Jefferson had a steal that led to a layup by Kidd for an 80-72
advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Scott's substitution
pattern had Kidd on the bench to start the final period, but
the unit led by backup Anthony Johnson
actually extended the
advantage to 86-77 before Kidd returned with just under seven
"My teammates picked it up for me," Kidd said. "That's how it's
been all season. Writers who have followed us all season
understand you probably couldn't pick who was going to step up.
The thing that makes our team so exciting is that it can be
sandwiched a pair of baskets around a dunk by
to pull the Hornets within 86-83 with 5:49
remaining. Harris followed with a jumper, layup and another
basket to trigger a 10-0 run that put away the game.
"It felt good, what can I say?" Harris said. "We have been out
here a lot of years losing and this year it's over, it's a new
Harris made 10-of-11 shots and also pulled down a playoff
career-high seven rebounds. Jefferson grabbed six boards and
reserve forward Aaron Williams
had five as the Nets' bench
grabbed 23 rebounds to eight for the Hornets.
"We call him (Harris) the big guard, he gets a lot of rebounds,"
Kidd joked. "He is a big part of our team. Everybody chipped
in and we welcomed RJ to the playoffs. He finally showed up."
The Nets have won three straight playoff games for the first
time in team history. They have won four in a row at home while
the Hornets fell to 0-4 this season at the Continental Airlines
Davis scored 21 points to lead Charlotte but managed just
seven in the second half. David Wesley
had 14 of his 17 points
in the first half.
"Basically in the fourth quarter, we haven't been able to score
points," Davis said. "We also didn't have it defensively and we
let their bench score 40 points. That's really not us. I don't
think we competed tonight."
The Hornets had felt that the addition of Magloire, who served a
league-imposed suspension in Game One, would give their
frontcourt a tremendous advantage. But New Jersey dominated
inside with a 50-36 advantage in points in the paint.
"Clearly, we have to do a better job matching their frontcourt,"
Charlotte coach Paul Silas said. "They killed us in the first
half. That's twice in a row that they outrebounded us in the
The Nets' starting frontcourt tandem of Keith Van Horn
turned in a better effort than Game One, in which
the duo combined for 21 points on 7-of-22 shooting. Van Horn
led the starters with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Martin
scored 15 points.
Davis had another troubling game for the Hornets. He made
3-of-11 shots in the second half, finished just 1-of-6 at the
free-throw line after failing to attempt a shot in the final
5:45 of Sunday's loss.
Campbell scored 15 points and Magloire netted 13 in 16
foul-plagued minutes. Magloire committed a pair of ill-advised
offensive fouls in the fourth quarter.
Charlotte, which again played without the ailing Jamal Mashburn
did not help itself at the line as it made went 15-of-26. The
Hornets also had problems with their transition defense as New
Jersey held a 15-6 advantage in fast-break points.
"I thought we came out ready to play and I think we showed we
wanted this game for four quarters," Van Horn said.
Last season, Charlotte dropped the first two games of its
Eastern Conference semifinal series with Milwaukee before
winning the next three. If the Hornets do not win two games,
Game Four on Sunday could be their last in Charlotte with a move
to New Orleans pending.
"We were in the same situation last year against Milwaukee,"
Davis said. "We were down 0-2 and went home and won the next
two. We know what we have to do."
Game 3 is Thursday in Charlotte.