A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Nets Work Their Own Magic
“I mean Jason’s triple-double you can’t take for granted,” said Nets coach Lawrence Frank. “A lot of things he does you can’t put a value on!”East Rutherford – The New Jersey Nets waltzed to their ninth straight victory, 113-106, over the Orlando Magic Friday night behind Jason Kidd and one of his trademark triple doubles – 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Orlando kept it close for the first 15 minutes, led by Grant Hill’s 14 points, 3 rebounds, and four assists. However, the Nets closed the first quarter on a 40-foot three pointer by Vince Carter (31 points) to take a 30-27 lead into the second quarter. Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson (15 points) provided plenty of “Top Ten” ESPN highlights as the Nets shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, including a 10-2 run to take a 57-45 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the Nets continued their sharp shooting (52.4%) and Orlando continued to turn the ball over, 15 times. The plethora of turnovers led to 23 Nets points and contributed to a 20 point third quarter lead. Clifford Robinson’s (10 points) 25-foot jumper with one second left in the third quarter put New Jersey up 83-63. The Magic’s comeback hopes continued to dwindle when Grant Hill did not return to the game after aggravating a groin injury that already had him listed as day-to-day.
However, Jameer Nelson (18 points, 8 assists) helped the Magic muscle their way back into the game, 99-91, with less than two minutes to go. The only other bright sport for the magic was the steady play of second year center Dwight Howard who contributed team highs in points (19) and rebounds (14). With many New Jersey fans already warming up their cars, the Nets reinserted their starters and relied on points from 6 points by Carter, in the final 80 seconds, to generate the final margin of victory.
“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.”
Notes: There were 15,332 fans on hand for the game. Unfortunately referee Jim Clark took and elbow to the head from a half-time performer and was down for several minutes before returning midway through the third quarter. The current Nets streak is the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history and five off the club record of 14. The Magic’s bench scored 55 of the teams 106 points.