Sunday, May 25, 2003
Wiser Nets eliminate Pistons
The Associated Press
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - One year older and immeasurably wiser, the New Jersey Nets are back in the NBA Finals.
The Nets won their 10th consecutive playoff game Saturday night, running full steam to a 102-82 victory to complete an Eastern Conference finals sweep of the Detroit Pistons.
Jason Kidd put the game away after shaking off a twisted ankle in the fourth quarter and finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. University of Cincinnati product Kenyon Martin added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Nets will face either San Antonio or Dallas in the finals.
The Nets were a surprise finalist a year ago but were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers. This year, they are determined to do better.
"Last year, we were just more than happy to be there," coach Byron Scott said before the game. "This year, we want to get back and prove it wasn't a fluke. And actually, we're a much better team than we were last year."
Clifford Robinson scored 21 points, and Richard Hamilton, Detroit's only reliable scoring threat in the series, had 20 for the Pistons.
Kidd twisted his ankle in the fourth quarter, grabbing the rebound off Hamilton's missed jumper with 6:59 to play. Kidd's right foot landed awkwardly on Ben Wallace's right foot, and the New Jersey point guard had a towel stuffed in his mouth to fight the pain as he lay on the court with the crowd chanting "M-V-P!."
"I stepped on somebody's foot, and I just twisted it," Kidd said. "It got my heart pumping faster. Once I knew I could stand up, I was all right."
The Nets, as they have all series, had big advantages in rebounds - 51-27 - and points in the paint - 50-26. For the third straight game, Martin scored within seconds of the opening tip. He had a dunk 6 seconds in, reminiscent of his dunk 6 seconds into Game 2 and his layup 4 seconds into Game 3.
At a glance
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New Jersey 102, Detroit 82; Nets win series 4-0
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