CHARLOTTE, NC, May 9 (Ticker) --
Looking for a knockout
punch, Jason Kidd
and the New Jersey Nets took a tremendous shot
to the head.
Kidd suffered a huge gash over his right eye in a first-half
collision and never really recovered as the Nets were dealt a
115-97 loss by the Charlotte Hornets, who got back into their
Eastern Conference semifinal series.
had 26 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and
seven steals for the Hornets, who lost the first two games of
the series on the road but were rejuvenated by returning to
Charlotte Coliseum -- which again was practically half empty.
Late in the first half, Kidd was dribbling quickly upcourt when
he had the ball poked away from behind by Davis. He tried to
run down the loose ball but instead ran into Hornets guard David
in a head-on collision.
As usual, Baron Davis wasn't afraid to take it into the land of the tall trees.|
Garrett W. Ellwood
Play continued for several seconds as both players went down in
pain. Wesley was woozy, while Kidd had blood streaming down his
face and neck. The guards were taken to their respective
locker rooms before Charlotte went to halftime with a 51-45
Wesley started the second half but Kidd did not, beginning on
the bench with a huge bandage covering seven stitches over his
right eyebrow. Without their All-Star point guard, the Nets
lacked direction on offense and could do nothing to slow down
Davis on defense.
"Jason's absence gave us problems," Nets coach Byron Scott said.
"We did a bad job executing our offense and never really got
into a flow."
Davis scored 16 points in the third quarter, when Charlotte led
by as many as 16 points before settling for an 84-69 advantage
entering the final period. Although Kidd returned, he clearly
was hurting and unable to rally his team.
"Jason was not in synch when he came back, and that hurt them a
lot," Hornets coach Paul Silas said.
"He had a cut over his eye that was pretty bad and we were more
worried about him," nets swingman Richard Jefferson
we back out there and our focus wasn't where it needed to be."
Kidd played just 28 minutes, finishing with 13 points, seven
rebounds and six assists. He committed five turnovers and was
not a factor after the injury. He did not speak to the media
after the game.
"I am sure Jason has a headache, just like I do," Wesley said.
Wesley scored 16 of his 22 points before the collision for
Charlotte, which had six players in double figures, shot 55
percent (41-of-75) from the field and controlled the backboards,
"David was key for us tonight," Davis said. "He is one of the
big reasons we won. He was hot early and helped us build our
The Hornets are awaiting approval for their move to New Orleans,
which should come from the NBA's Board of Governors on Friday.
They drew just 11,363 and hope to have a larger crowd for Game
Four on Sunday, which could be their last at Charlotte Coliseum.
"The fans that do come are loud and cheering and we appreciate
it," Wesley said. "They are giving it their all."
Jefferson scored many of his 16 points in garbage time for the
Nets, who never led and shot just 42 percent (34-of-81).
New Jersey got a taste of what Charlotte has dealt with been
throughout the playoffs. Hornets leading scorer Jamal Mashburn
has played just 10 minutes due to complications of anemia.
"Kidd is their leader," Silas said. "When your leader goes
down, you struggle. That's what happened to New Jersey."
"Jason's leaving had a negative impact," Nets forward Kenyon
said. "When your leader goes down, it's hard to
After Kerry Kittles
opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to
halve the deficit, Davis had a pair of baskets as Charlotte
scored seven straight points. Kidd returned less than a minute
later and his jumper pulled New Jersey within 61-55 with 7:22 to
go, but Davis answered with a 3-pointer.
Two free throws by Davis and a pair by Wesley extended the lead
to 76-60 with 2:26 left. The Hornets made 8-of-14 shots in the
"I was shaky when I got up, but after I came back in the locker
room and sat down for a while, things started to come back to
me," Wesley said.
Kidd began the final period on the bench, and the Nets closed to
86-74 on two foul shots by Jefferson with just under 10 minutes
to go. Kidd returned but had no effect as consecutive baskets
by Lee Nailon and a jumper by George Lynch
widened the lead to
In a telling play, Wesley's fast-break layup had Kidd
backpedaling and shying away. It gave Charlotte a 98-77 lead
with 6:26 left.
"He tried going back into the game in the second half, but with
about six minutes to go, I knew it was over, so I got him out of
there," Scott said.
"We still needed to play without Jason, but we just couldn't get
over the hump," Martin said.
had 16 points and nine rebounds and Lynch added
12 and 12 for the Hornets. Martin scored 13 points and Keith
Van Horn had 12 for the Nets.
"Magloire had a great game, Lynch had double-digit rebounds and
when you combine that with them shooting 55 percent, we're just
not going to win," Scott said.
The Hornets opened a 28-18 lead after one quarter largely
without Davis, who missed his first six shots before a
thunderous dunk late in the period.
Charlotte averted another injury to a key player when Davis
twisted his left ankle as he stepped on Martin's foot while
making a driving layup late in the first half. He hobbled
around for a couple of possessions before playing through it.
"I did not want to go back to the sideline and have it stiffen
up," Davis said. "I told coach I wanted to stand and keep it