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New Jersey 94, Boston 76
Nets One Win From Conference Finals

Richard Jefferson had 20 points for New Jersey in Game 3.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

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BOSTON, May 9 -- Kenyon Martin scored 25 points and Richard Jefferson added 20 as the Nets rolled to a 94-76 victory over the Celtics to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series. New Jersey can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive year with a win in Game 4 on Monday night in Boston.

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Nets coach Byron Scott had made negative comments about Boston's fans following New Jersey's victory in Game 2, and while the comments seemed sure to create an excessively hostile environment for Scott's team, the Nets never trailed and kept the crowd quiet.

"It wasn't bad because we kind of took them out of the game early," Martin said. "That was our main focus. That if we played well early, then the crowd wouldn't be a factor. To come out here and play well and try to keep the crowd out of the game and we did."

"That was a fantastic win for us to come out and play the way we did from start to finish," Scott said. "I thought it was pretty impressive and our guys were totally focused."

The fans were barely noticeable until the fourth quarter, when struggling forward Antoine Walker appeared to push a fan that was heckling him from behind the Celtics bench. Walker had his friends in the crowd descend on the fan until the fight was broken up by security.

"I was out of character," Walker said. "This fan's been on me since I've been here. I always see this guy all the time for seven years. I really felt bad about it, but in the heat of the game you're out there giving 110 percent and this is a guy who I've seen here before. I just got tired of it tonight, I was fed up with it."

It was the culmination of the building frustration for Walker, who has struggled in the series. He had 15 points and 15 rebounds in Game 3 but was ineffective when the game was close and received a technical foul in the decisive third quarter. Walker is averaging 12 points on 28 percent (15-of-52) shooting in the first three games of the series.

New Jersey led by as many as 12 in the first quarter and ran away with the game in the third. The Nets had a 60-51 lead with 7:29 remaining before scoring 15 consecutive points, highlighted by five from Martin, who scored 11 in the period.

"We came out in the third quarter and I think we wanted it more," Nets guard Lucious Harris said. "We came out with a determination to put this thing away early and not give them any chance to come back in the fourth quarter."

Martin sparked the run with a free throw and followed with an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Jason Kidd. He added a jumper with five minutes left to give New Jersey a 67-51 edge.

Kidd had three points and two assists during the spurt, capping it with a layup for a 75-51 cushion with 55 seconds remaining.

Paul Pierce made a layup 14 seconds later for Boston's first points since the 7:47 mark. The Celtics missed 14 straight shots and committed two turnovers as they went scoreless for a span of 7:07.

The Celtics never got closer than 14 in the fourth quarter and are facing a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series for just the second time in franchise history. No team in NBA history has won a postseason series after losing the first three games.

Pierce finished with 23 points but left the game in the fourth quarter with a strained muscle in his right leg.

"I sort of pulled something off the back of my leg in the second quarter and it was kind of hampering me throughout the game," he said. "In the fourth quarter (coach Jim O'Brien) took me out and wanted me to get it checked out."

Kidd collected nine points, nine rebounds and 11 assists for the Nets, who shot 49 percent (34-of-69) from the floor and limited themselves to just nine turnovers.

The Nets will have a chance to complete the series sweep on Monday at FleetCenter.

"We're looking forward to it. We know it's not going to be easy Monday," Scott said. "The last thing that anybody wants when you're on a team is to get swept."

"It's not over," Harris said. "It feels a little over, but I'm sure come Monday, reality will set in that we still got one more game to win."

Tony Delk had 16 points and six assists as the struggling Celtics shot just 35 percent (27-of-78) from the floor and committed 17 turnovers.

Walker made just 4-of-12 shots in the first half and was called for a technical foul with 1:42 left in the third quarter. He received the foul after exchanging words with Martin prior to a jump ball.

The teams opened the game by exchanging 3-pointer and the Nets never trailed after Kerry Kittles made a layup with 10:25 remaining. New Jersey used an 8-0 run to take a 22-10 lead on a pair of free throws by Martin and Boston never got closer than five thereafter.
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