EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 24 (Ticker) --
The Toronto Raptors
made things interesting early in the fourth quarter. Then New
Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank
put his starters back in.
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collected 25 points and 15 rebounds as the Nets
defeated the Raptors 86-74 for their NBA season-high 14th
Detroit and San Antonio each had won 13 consecutive games this
season, but no team had won 14 in a row since Dallas began last
Every win but one during the streak has come against the weak
Eastern Conference. The Nets face a stern test at Western
Conference power Minnesota on Wednesday.
"It's not a championship game (Wednesday)," Nets point guard Jason Kidd
said. "Everyone is talking like it's Game 7. We're
getting ahead of ourselves. Minnesota played tonight (winning
at Milwaukee), we played tonight. It's a game on the road
that's scheduled and for some odd reason, everyone wants to make
this into a bigger game. Hopefully we show up and win on the
Kidd added 17 points and seven assists as New Jersey improved to
13-0 under Frank, who added to his record for consecutive wins to
begin a coaching career in one of the four major North American
"He obviously has been preparing to be a head coach for a long
time," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "It's just the right
circumstances at the right moment and history was made. It's an
New Jersey entered the fourth quarter with a 73-57 lead and its
starters on the bench. Shorthanded Toronto began the period
with nine straight points, forcing Frank to reinsert his best
players with 8:34 remaining. Toronto pulled within 73-68 on a
pair of free throws by Jerome Moiso
with 7:53 left before New
Jersey again took control.
"Sometimes you just have to call timeout just to stop the
momentum a little bit," Frank said. "It was just in the ebb and
flow of the game."
"We had the game under control, they kept playing and we didn't
start the fourth quarter well," Kidd said. "We were fortunate
to hold on and win the game. Throughout this winning, we
haven't relaxed. We relaxed in the fourth quarter and you can
see what happens when you do relax."
Frank was hit with a technical foul for sarcastically clapping
when referee Ed Rush called a foul on the Raptors after several
minutes of rough play had resulted in no whistles. Donyell Marshall
sank the free throw to make it 77-71, but the Nets reeled off nine straight points.
scored 18 points to pace the Raptors, who once again
were without injured stars Vince Carter
(sprained ankle) and
(broken hand). Also, starting point guard Alvin Williams
sat out with a sore right knee.
"It is tough," Mason said. "I'm a role player on this team. A
lot of guys that are playing big minutes now are role players.
Our big guns are out, so we just have to do what we can and try
to withstand a storm right now and try to get some wins."
The Raptors shot just 39 percent (25-of-64) and were
"We were pretty limited without three of our starters," said
Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill
, whose squad lost 91-72 at home to New
Jersey on Friday. "We will compare our team to others
when we get back to our full strength, to have any chance to
make the playoffs."