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
"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.
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
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."
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
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