EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 11 (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd
shooting stroke and the New Jersey Nets have found their way
back into the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Kidd scored 22 points as part of his seventh career playoff
triple-double as the Nets cruised to a 94-79 victory over the
Detroit Pistons, evening the series at two games apiece.
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Kerry Kittles added 14 points and five assists to the Nets' win.
Jesse D. Garrabrant
Detroit opened the series with a pair of home wins by a combined
37 points and New Jersey has responded with two of its own by a
total of 33 points. The series shifts back to Auburn Hills, Mich. for Game
5 on Friday.
A big question mark for New Jersey had been the shooting of
Kidd, who entered Game 4 just 9-of-40 from the floor in the
series, possibly due to the recurring knee problems that
hampered him late in the regular season.
The All-Star point guard responded by making 8-of-15 shots,
handing out 11 assists and grabbing 10 boards as the Nets never
trailed for the second straight game.
"We never base Jason's game on scoring," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "The guy's first team All-NBA; year in and year out,
he's an MVP candidate."
Kidd was at his best in the third quarter as he made all five
shots for 13 points and added a pair of assists. After Kerry Kittles
started the period with New Jersey's first six points,
Kidd's nine points fueled an 11-2 tear that turned the contest
into a blowout, establishing a 66-49 cushion with 5:17 to go.
"Once Kerry started going, I wanted to get going," Kidd said. "I
was kind of tired of sitting on the sideline thinking if I was
going to make one or miss one."
"It's a matter of staying focused and staying determined," Nets
forward Richard Jefferson
said. "J-Kidd is not going to shy away
Kidd's performance was part of a big effort by the "Olympic
trio" of the Nets as Jefferson scored 19 points and Kenyon
Martin added 16 and 15 rebounds. New Jersey held a 23-3 edge in
fast-break points after three quarters and finished with 25.
A stifling defensive effort that limited Detroit to 37 percent
(24-of-65) shooting was best displayed in the second quarter.
New Jersey forced seven turnovers in the period and reserve
had a pair of baskets and a beautiful tip pass to
Martin for a slam as part of a 9-0 tear that opened up a 33-22
advantage, the first double-digit lead for the Nets.
"We had them in a scramble," said Harris, who netted 11 points.
"We got some turnovers and easy buckets off those turnovers."
scored 30 points but was the only Piston to
reach double figures. Rasheed Wallace
, hampered by an ankle
injury, and Chauncey Billups
, bothered by back problems,
combined for only 12 points.
"They just beat us," Detroit coach Larry Brown
said. "They were
great. They played phenomenal. We gotta figure out how to match
The Nets outmuscled the usually more physical Pistons to a 49-33
rebounding advantage and also outscored them in the paint,
40-22. In addition, Detroit surrendered a whopping 20 offensive