Nets Handle Magic for Ninth Straight Win
New Jersey 113, Orlando 106
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Jan. 06 (Ticker) -- Not even six idle days could cool off the New Jersey Nets.
Jason Kidd registered his 69th career triple-double and the Nets cruised to their ninth straight win, a 113-106 victory over the struggling Orlando Magic.
It is the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history and five off the club record of 14.
"Regardless of how much time off we have, our approach shouldn't change," Carter said. "We can't make excuses. Even if we were tired out there, we need to have the dedication and just do our job."
Kidd collected 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season. He trails Wilt Chamberlain by nine for third place on the all-time list.
"My objective was to get out and run and speed things up so we could get that rust off," Kidd said. "I was just trying to get easy shots for my teammates. It's kind of like we didn't miss a beat tonight."
The star point guard scored five points in a 10-2 surge that closed the first half and gave the Nets the lead for good at 55-47. He handed out six assists in the third quarter, including three on consecutive baskets that started a decisive 17-5 run to finish the period.
"You never take great players for granted because all you have to do is not to be around them for a little bit," Nets coach Lawrence Franksaid. "A lot of the things he does, you can't put a value on it. His leadership, showing the way and setting the tone, he's a special player."
Kidd fed veteran Cliff Robinson for a 3-pointer that made it 77-62 with 89 seconds left and Lamond Murray added a tip dunk 59 seconds later. After the play, Murray was shoved in the back by Orlando center Tony Battie, who drew a technical foul.
Carter sank the ensuing free throw and Robinson capped the quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Nets their largest lead at 83-63. Orlando rallied with four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter but did not get closer than seven as New Jersey sealed it from the line.
Nenad Krstic scored 14 points for the Nets, who shot 47 percent (37-of-79) from the floor and sank 33-of-37 free throws. Robinson and Jacque Vaughn added 10 points apiece off the bench.
The win was also important as the Nets play 10 of their next 12 on the road, beginning a four-game trek in Toronto on Sunday.
"It was good to get this one. We understand what was at stake because you don't want to go on the road after losing this game," Kidd said.
Dwight Howard had 19 points and 14 rebounds and reserve Jameer Nelson scored 18 points off the bench for the Magic, who shot 48 percent (41-of-85) but committed 21 turnovers. Seven of those came from Steve Francis, who spent much of the final period on the bench.
The Magic also lost forward Grant Hill to a groin injury early in the third quarter. Hill had surgery for a sports hernia that forced him to miss 19 games earlier this season and had missed the last two contests with a strain in the area.
"I don't have any answers, it's just unfortunate," Hill said. "I felt pretty good in the first half and then at the end of the half, I felt something. I just have to get treatment and see how it feels."
"It's tough, it's another ballhandler and a guy who organizes our offense," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "But it looked like he was in some pain and I didn't want to take any chances."
Near the end of halftime, veteran referee Jim Clark took an elbow to the head from a man performing cartwheels on the court and was knocked to the floor. After remaining down for several minutes, he left the court under his own power and returned to cheers from the Continental Airlines Arena crowd midway through the third period.
By that time, the game was slowly slipping away from the Magic, who were falling apart without Hill. They made just 6-of-21 shots in the quarter and committed five turnovers.
"We lost all our offensive organization," Brian Hill said. "We can't continue to turn the ball over like this. When they made a run, we let down defensively, and that was the difference."