EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., March 19 (Ticker) --
The New Jersey Nets'
latest fourth-quarter collapse has caused them to take a fall.
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Struggling again in the fourth quarter, the Nets were knocked
out of first place in the Atlantic Division as they suffered a
104-85 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, who got a big final period
from rookie Marcus Haislip
In their last home game on Sunday, the Nets were held without a
basket for the final 8:56 in a 92-87 loss to the Philadelphia
76ers. That loss cut the Nets' lead in the division to one-half
game over the Sixers.
The Nets rebounded from the loss with Tuesday's win at Boston in
which they managed just nine points in the fourth quarter. They
again were horrendous in the final period in this one as the
Bucks picked up an important win.
Haislip scored six points in a 15-2 run to start the fourth
quarter that gave Milwaukee a commanding 88-75 lead with 7:19
Looking lost against the Bucks' 3-2 zone defense, the Nets
missed their first six shots of the quarter and never were able
to cut the deficit under double digits after the Bucks' initial
surge. They also committed seven of their 27 turnovers in the
fourth quarter as they fell percentage points behind the Sixers.
"Same old story, 27 turnovers," Nets coach Byron Scott said.
"When we play like that and we're just throwing the ball all
over the place, it's difficult to beat any team in this league,
especially a good team. There have been three or four games
when we have been turning the ball over at an alarming rate.
Somewhere down the line it has to stop. We have to understand
how important the ball is."
To make matters worse, the Nets' latest offensive debacle came
against against a team that has been struggling defensively.
Milwaukee entered the contest having lost nine of its last 14
games since acquiring Gary Payton
while allowing 104.6 points
per contest during that span.
"They were the Nets. They have a great flow offense," Bucks
coach George Karl said. "We thought going into the game that
maybe the zone would slow down their rhythm and the way they
play. I think it was fairly effective. We played zone the
whole fourth quarter."
"We threw a zone defense at them and gave them some trouble,"
Bucks guard Sam Cassell
said. "I know the next time we play
them that they will be ready for the zone."
Payton scored 23 points and outplayed friend and fellow Bay area
native Jason Kidd
to lead the Bucks, who moved one-half game
ahead of Washington for the Eastern Conference's final playoff
"We had a good night. We played a little defense," Payton said.
"It's about time that we started to play right. We were very
active. This is only one game. We have to keep this up and get
a couple more wins. Anybody could beat anybody on any given
Kidd also had a strong game with 17 points, nine rebounds and
nine assists but he could not prevent the Nets from losing for
the ninth time in their last 13 games. The star point guard
committed five turnovers and managed just three points over the
final 12 minutes.
"We've been very inconsistent of late and the turnovers are
tough to take," Kidd said. "Everybody is trying to get the ball
to the open guy. We're just not getting it there."
had 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who
made just 4-of-20 shots in the fourth quarter. Despite his big
game, Martin also played careless at times as he turned the ball
over seven times.
While the Nets were falling apart in the fourth quarter, the
Bucks picked the right time to be at their best.
and Haislip opened the fourth with jumpers and
had a fast-break dunk, making it 79-73 with 9:22
scored on follow shot 26 seconds later for the
Nets before the Bucks reeled off the next eight points to take
control for good.
Haislip, who scored 12 points, made two free throws and had a
dunk. Former Net Cassell drilled a 3-pointer, and New Jersey
native Tim Thomas capped the surge with two free throws, pushing
the lead to 88-75.
"Marcus Haislip gave us good energy off the bench," Karl said.
"We were looking for someone to step up and he did."
Cassell finished with 22 points and Redd 18 as the Bucks made
11-of-19 shots in the fourth quarter. They shot 48 percent
(39-of-82) overall and won despite being outrebounded, 51-37.
"We've been coming up short but tonight we executed what we
needed to execute," Cassell said. "We played good defense down
the stretch and won a game that we had to have. It's just that
Cassell did most of his damage in the first half, when he scored
15 points to help the Bucks to a 54-47 lead.
Martin was even better, scoring 19 points while going 8-of-9
from the field before the break. He netted 15 points on 6-of-6
shooting in the opening period.
A turnaround jumper by Desmond Mason
, who had 17 points and 10
rebounds, gave the Bucks a 62-58 lead early in the third
quarter. The Nets answered with an 11-3 run to take the lead,
but the game was tied entering the fourth.
Jefferson added 17 points and Kerry Kittles
11 for the Nets, who
shot 40 percent (30-of-76).