EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J., Jan 31 (Ticker)
-- It seemed like the
struggling New Jersey Nets were facing the league's best team at
the worst possible time. Jason Kidd
turned it into one of
their biggest moments of the season.
Kidd had 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and made huge
3-pointer in the final minute as the Nets ended the Detroit
Pistons' league season-high 11-game winning streak with a
thrilling 91-84 victory.
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After returning from a winless four-game road trip, New Jersey
faced the prospect of trying to beat a Detroit team that had
lost only five games all season. To make things worse, Kidd was
hobbled by leg injuries that limitied his activity in practice
"Most people thought this was a bad time to play Detroit, but
you have to play the way they fall on the schedule," Kidd said.
"This was a big character test for us. This could have sent us
reeling in the wrong direction."
"He was relentless," New Jersey guard Vince Carter
wanted to win this game. You could see it in his eyes."
New Jersey (23-20) held on for its ninth consecutive home win,
surviving a 14-point fourth quarter from Chauncey Billups
scored 30 points and would not let the Pistons go down without a
"That's Chauncey," Kidd said. "He loves those moments and
thrives in those situations."
Billups buried four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, with the
last bringing the Pistons within 85-84 with 1:44 remaining. But
Kidd answered with a wide-open 3-pointer 46 seconds later after
Billups and Ben Wallace
misplayed a pick-and-roll.
"They got crossed up on the pick-and-roll and Kidd made a great
shot," Detroit coach Flip Saunders
said. "That was
"I don't shy away from it," Kidd said. "We're up one. I had the
same shot in Portland (on Friday) and it didn't go in, but
tonight it does."
, who struggled offensively, stripped Richard Hamilton
at the other end and Kidd sealed the win with a pair of
free throws with 36 seconds to go.
"I had to do something," said Carter, who made 7-of-20 shots and
committed eight turnovers. "Offensively, it wasn't my night,
but I had to keep playing. I just tried to stay in front of the
rim and make it tough on him and I was able to get a hand on
and Nenad Krstic
collected 19 points apiece
and Carter added 17 and eight rebounds for the Nets, who held
the Pistons to 37 percent (30-of-82) shooting.
"We were mentally a step slow. We had some defensive
breakdowns, we played out of character," Saunders said. "But as
bad as we played, we still had a chance to win the game with a
minute to go."
Billups made 9-of-14 shots, including all six 3-pointers, and
received treament on his left leg after the game.
Hamilton made just 8-of-24 shots for 19 points and Rasheed Wallace
was 3-of-14 from the floor, including an abysmal 1-of-11
from long range, where Detroit (37-6) was 8-of-27.
"We just had a tough shooting night," Billups said. "We got all
the shots that we wanted, but they just didn't go down. If we
really won a game like that shooting as poorly as we did, that
would have been one of the more impressive wins this season."