EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Nets-Pacers rivalry that developed in the playoffs boiled over in bad feelings Friday night.
In their first meeting since the Nets' dramatic double-overtime win in the deciding Game 5 of the first round, New Jersey defeated Indiana 102-91 in a game that included the ejection of three players, including the first ever for Jason Kidd.
"It did get kind of out of control,'' said Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal. "It almost turned into a circus. It's going to be that way. It's going to be that way for a long time.
"They have a young team over there and we have a young team over here,'' he added. "We're going to have the same teams for the next four or five years. It's going to be great games. Hopefully, they don't end up that way.''
Nets backup guard Anthony Johnson and Pacers guard Erick
Strickland were also tossed in a game that featured nine individual
technical fouls, four flagrants and 59 personal fouls.
The tone may have been set before the game. The Pacers came in saying they had circled their calendars for their first game against the Eastern Conference champions.
"Rivalry is a good thing,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "It's good to have a rival and be noticed as the new kid on the block trying to carve out some turf. Our goal and mission is to take what they have.''
The turf war was chippy almost from the start.
"They circled the game,'' said Kidd, who had an off night with nine points on 3-for-13 shooting, eight rebounds and eight assists, "They were the ones coming in saying they were looking forward to the game.''
It certainly got interesting after the Nets opened an 18-point lead late in the third quarter.
Strickland was called for a flagrant foul with about 10 seconds left in the quarter for blocking Lucious Harris. Strickland got a technical for arguing the call and then was ejected for being part of a double technical with Harris.
Kidd was ejected with 4:52 left for throwing an elbow at Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley after the two were both called for technicals while backing each other in the post.
Johnson was thrown out for pointing at Tinsley less than a minute later.
After the third ejection, things calmed down.
"It's a great win,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said. "A lot of things went on in this game that I haven't seen in a long time.''
After the Nets trailed 27-23 early in the second quarter, backup
center Jason Collins ignited and capped a 13-3 run with a pair of
three-point plays. The Nets built the lead to 18 points late in the
third quarter when things really got chippy.
The teams will meet again on Feb. 20 in Indianapolis.
Nets backup point guard Chris Childs, who was suspended for
being out of shape, is paying his own way to be treated at Duke's
diet and fitness center, GM Rod Thorn said. ... Miller (injured
list) will have his ankle re-evaluated next week. ... After missing
the season opener with a sprained ankle, Tinsley had eight points
and six fouls in 16 minutes.