NEW YORK, April 25 (Ticker) --
After Kenyon Martin
carried the New
Jersey Nets, his backup came up with a pair of critical baskets
to help them to another playoff series sweep.
NBA TV highlights from|
Martin scored a playoff career-high 36 points and backup power
forward Aaron Williams
added a pair of key hoops down the
stretch as the Nets completed a four-game sweep of their Eastern
Conference first-round series against the New York Knicks with
a 100-94 victory.
Kenyon Martin and the Nets have swept their last three Eastern Conference playoff opponents.|
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
New Jersey extended its playoff winning streak against Eastern
foes to 14 games, sweeping a team from the East for the third
straight series after whitewashes last year against Boston and
Detroit. The Nets face the Pistons or Milwaukee Bucks in the
Martin posted his fourth double-double of the series, also
grabbing 13 rebounds.
"(I) just came out aggressive," the All-Star forward said. "With
the series on the line, good players step up in pressure
Williams gave the Nets the lead for good at 90-88 with a layup
off a feed from Jason Kidd
with 3:31 left. After New York's
made 1-of-2 at the line, Williams again struck by
putting home Richard Jefferson
's missed 3-pointer with 3:07 to
"I just tried to bring a little energy at the end," Williams
"Aaron Williams gave us a huge lift - big energy, big bounce,"
Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "It's tough when you're dried up
because he hadn't played in the whole half."
Four free throws by reserveLucious Harris
in the final 13
seconds accounted for the final points of the game, sealing the
New York appeared poised to keep its season alive for at least a
few more days after Stephon Marbury
scored five straight points
and assisted on Frank Williams
' 3-pointer for an 85-79
advantage with 6:52 left.
Following a timeout by Frank, the Nets responded with the next
"They took the lead, we didn't panic," Martin said. "Guys just
talked through it. We've been together for three years now. The
core has been together. We willed our way to a win."
Martin's aggressive play helped New Jersey to a 43-37 advantage
on the glass and also limited New York's inside scoring. Martin
scored the Nets' first eight points of the final period,
emphatically dunking off feeds by Kidd on a pair of
"K took it to another level," Kidd said. "He understood what was
at stake - to shut the door."
The Nets also succeeded in slowing down Marbury at the end.
Marbury, who finished with 31 points, did not have a basket over
the final seven minutes and was constantly double-teamed.
"Coach Frank had a good game plan," Marbury said. "They did all
the right things to get the ball out of my hands."
The shorthanded Knicks, who played without injured starters
and Tim Thomas
and underwent numerous personnel
changes this season, turned in their best all-around game of the
series. But the injuries and the lack of cohesion among new
teammates proved to be too much to overcome.
"Sometimes it takes teams a year or two to really learn one
another and we tried to do it in three months," New York coach
Lenny Wilkens said. "You have to give the players some credit
for hanging in there."