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New Jersey 104, Boston 95
Nets Nail Down Game 2 Win

Kenyon Martin had 14 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2 vs. Boston Wednesday.
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 7 (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics sliced a 16-point deficit to two before Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson returned for the New Jersey Nets.

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Kidd collected 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and Jefferson scored 25 points as the Nets held on for a 104-95 victory over the Celtics in Game Two of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Nets endured a lengthy scoring drought for the second straight game but took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the Celtics, who wasted Paul Pierce's first career playoff triple-double.

"I think we are happy where we are," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "I feel real good. We know that going (to Boston), the momentum is in our favor. We are playing pretty well, but we haven't done anything special. We took care of our home court and that's all we've done so far."

Kidd capped the third quarter with a layup to give New Jersey its largest lead at 82-66, but he and Jefferson started the final period on the bench.

The Celtics, who rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Nets in Game Three of last year's conference finals, opened the fourth quarter with 14 straight points.

Pierce scored six during the spurt, bringing Boston within 82-80 on a pair of free throws with 7:48 left.

Jefferson, who returned with 8:24 to go, answered with a pair of free throws at the 7:33 mark for New Jersey's first points of the period.

"When myself and Kidd were out of the game, Boston started to get a little more comfortable," said Jefferson, who had eight points in the final 12 minutes. "When Kidd came back into the game, he showed his importance because he was able to control the tempo of the play and get us running up and down again."

"In the fourth quarter, Richard made some good shots," Scott added. "He had a great game tonight and made some big shots when we weren't playing really well, especially in the early part of the fourth quarter."

The Nets went 2:32 without scoring and did not make a basket in the fourth until Jefferson's jumper opened an 87-82 lead with 5:27 left. Kerry Kittles followed with a 3-pointer from the right corner 41 seconds later.

After a pair of free throws by Pierce, Jefferson buried a jumper and Kidd sank two free throws to give the Nets a 94-84 cushion with 3:45 remaining.

Jefferson's reverse dunk made it 86-85 and New Jersey sank 8-of-10 free throws in the final 2:12.

Jefferson made 10-of-18 shots and Kidd was 6-of-10 from the field after spending the previous two days answering questions about Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, who said someone needed to "smack" Kidd's wife.

"There is always going to be distractions," Kidd said. "It is just a matter of the magnitude and how you handle the distractions. My teammates were great, my coaching staff was great. The support I got from my wife was great. It was just a matter of going out there and playing and not worrying about the sideshow. We had a game to win."

Kittles finished with 16 points, Kenyon Martin added 14 and 10 rebounds and Jason Collins scored 10 for the Nets, who have won four consecutive playoff games for the first time in team history.

"It is a game of runs," Martin said. "Boston made their run and we came back. Jason made some huge plays for us. That is what we do. We have to sustain our runs and get stops on the defensive end."

Pierce collected 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds but got little help from fellow All-Star Antoine Walker, who scored just seven points on 3-of-15 shooting.

Walker continued to struggle against Martin and is shooting just 9-for-35 in the series, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.

"There is no excuse for that," Walker said. "I am just missing shots. It's just been a tough time. I am trying to prove myself as a strong playoff player, but I am coming up short for the first time in my career."

Tony Delk scored 19 points and Tony Battie added 15 for the Celtics, who scored 52 points in the paint but committed 21 turnovers leading to 25 points for the Nets.

"They killed us and the turnovers killed us," Pierce said. "We gave them opportunities. We turned the ball over at an alarming rate. The more we turn it over, the more we create fast-break opportunities for them."

Boston hosts Game Three on Friday.

Jefferson scored 12 points in the first half as New Jersey built a 51-45 advantage. The Nets dominated the third quarter, led by Kidd, who had 13 points, four assists and four rebounds in the period.

New Jersey made 13-of-20 shots, including 3-of-4 3-pointers, and dished out 11 assists as it turned the period into a fast-break exhibition.

The Nets scored 11 of their 31 third-quarter points on the break and had nine points off seven turnovers by the Celtics.