EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 7 (Ticker) --
The Boston Celtics
sliced a 16-point deficit to two before Jason Kidd
returned for the New Jersey Nets.
Kidd collected 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and
Jefferson scored 25 points as the Nets held on for a 104-95
victory over the Celtics in Game Two of their Eastern Conference
The Nets endured a lengthy scoring drought for the second
straight game but took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series
with the Celtics, who wasted Paul Pierce's
first career playoff
"I think we are happy where we are," Nets coach Byron Scott
said. "I feel real good. We know that going (to Boston), the
momentum is in our favor. We are playing pretty well, but we
haven't done anything special. We took care of our home court
and that's all we've done so far."
Kidd capped the third quarter with a layup to give New Jersey
its largest lead at 82-66, but he and Jefferson started the
final period on the bench.
The Celtics, who rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the
Nets in Game Three of last year's conference finals, opened the
fourth quarter with 14 straight points.
Pierce scored six during the spurt, bringing Boston within 82-80
on a pair of free throws with 7:48 left.
Jefferson, who returned with 8:24 to go, answered with a pair of
free throws at the 7:33 mark for New Jersey's first points of
"When myself and Kidd were out of the game, Boston started to
get a little more comfortable," said Jefferson, who had eight
points in the final 12 minutes. "When Kidd came back into the
game, he showed his importance because he was able to control
the tempo of the play and get us running up and down again."
"In the fourth quarter, Richard made some good shots," Scott
added. "He had a great game tonight and made some big shots
when we weren't playing really well, especially in the early
part of the fourth quarter."
The Nets went 2:32 without scoring and did not make a basket in
the fourth until Jefferson's jumper opened an 87-82 lead with
5:27 left. Kerry Kittles
followed with a 3-pointer from the
right corner 41 seconds later.
After a pair of free throws by Pierce, Jefferson buried a jumper
and Kidd sank two free throws to give the Nets a 94-84 cushion
with 3:45 remaining.
Jefferson's reverse dunk made it 86-85 and New Jersey sank
8-of-10 free throws in the final 2:12.
Jefferson made 10-of-18 shots and Kidd was 6-of-10 from the
field after spending the previous two days answering questions
about Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, who said someone needed
to "smack" Kidd's wife.
"There is always going to be distractions," Kidd said. "It is
just a matter of the magnitude and how you handle the
distractions. My teammates were great, my coaching staff was
great. The support I got from my wife was great. It was just a
matter of going out there and playing and not worrying about
the sideshow. We had a game to win."
Kittles finished with 16 points, Kenyon Martin
added 14 and 10
rebounds and Jason Collins
scored 10 for the Nets, who have won
four consecutive playoff games for the first time in team
"It is a game of runs," Martin said. "Boston made their run and
we came back. Jason made some huge plays for us. That is what
we do. We have to sustain our runs and get stops on the
Pierce collected 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds but got
little help from fellow All-Star Antoine Walker
, who scored just
seven points on 3-of-15 shooting.
Walker continued to struggle against Martin and is shooting just
9-for-35 in the series, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
"There is no excuse for that," Walker said. "I am just missing
shots. It's just been a tough time. I am trying to prove
myself as a strong playoff player, but I am coming up short for
the first time in my career."
scored 19 points and Tony Battie
added 15 for the
Celtics, who scored 52 points in the paint but committed 21
turnovers leading to 25 points for the Nets.
"They killed us and the turnovers killed us," Pierce said. "We
gave them opportunities. We turned the ball over at an alarming
rate. The more we turn it over, the more we create fast-break
opportunities for them."
Boston hosts Game Three on Friday.
Jefferson scored 12 points in the first half as New Jersey built
a 51-45 advantage. The Nets dominated the third quarter, led
by Kidd, who had 13 points, four assists and four rebounds in
New Jersey made 13-of-20 shots, including 3-of-4 3-pointers, and
dished out 11 assists as it turned the period into a fast-break
The Nets scored 11 of their 31 third-quarter points on the break
and had nine points off seven turnovers by the Celtics.