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Nets come back in Kidd's absence

1/30/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Kenyon Martin made a statement and
Anthony Johnson lived out a daydream on a night when Jason Kidd
left with an injury and Michael Jordan played poorly.

Martin had 19 points and a career-high 21 rebounds and Johnson
led the Nets on a game-changing run after Kidd strained his groin
in the third quarter of New Jersey's 86-78 victory over Washington
on Wednesday night.

"It was a little statement," Martin said. "I should have been
on the All-Star team."

Richard Jefferson added 24 points for the Nets, who held Jordan
to 8 points -- his lowest-scoring game ever at the Meadowlands.

Johnson had 10 points and five assists after Kidd strained his
right groin. Kidd will receive treatment Thursday and will be a
game-time decision Friday against New Orleans.

Johnson committed six fouls in the fourth but gave the team
almost 15 minutes of leadership it desperately needed.

"I sit in my house and dream what it's like to run this
ballclub, and that opportunity might present itself later in the
week," Johnson said.

Kidd strained his groin when he jumped in an unsuccessful effort
to intercept or deflect an outlet pass that Jerry Stackhouse turned
into a dunk with 4:24 remaining in the third.

Johnson replaced Kidd with 3:22 left and hit his first shot 17
seconds later, a 16-footer that cut Washington's lead to 57-55.
Johnson added a layup and an assist as New Jersey closed the
quarter with a 6-0 run for a 65-59 lead.

"They're a good team for a reason -- because they have other
guys who can step up and play without (Kidd). His style of play is
infectious among them, and everyone wants to get in and make the
great pass," Stackhouse said.

The run reached 11-0 as the Nets scored the first five points of
the fourth, and a dunk by Aaron Williams off Martin's eighth and
final assist gave the Nets their largest lead _ 76-63 with 7:21
remaining.

Washington came back with a 10-2 run to close to 78-73, but
Hughes took a bad shot and Jordan traveled on the Wizards' next two
possessions.

"It's unusual to see No. 23 make mistakes at the end of the
game, but he's human like everyone else," Nets coach Byron Scott
said.

Martin missed the second of two free throws with 24.4 seconds
left, denying him the first 20-20 game by a member of the Nets
since Jayson Williams had 23 points and 23 rebounds against Chicago
on Jan. 23, 1998.

"I thought it was in, it bounced around the rim. But we got the
W, and that's the only thing that counts," Martin said.

Stackhouse led Washington with 27 points.

Jordan shot 4-for-16, including 1-for-8 in the second half. He
had bad games in his two previous appearances here, scoring 12 and
10.

"Kenyon Martin came out in the second half and was just a man
amongst boys. He just killed us on the boards," Jordan said. "A
couple of their guys were out and we just didn't capitalize."

Kidd, averaging team-highs of 20.4 points, 8.4 assists and 2.3
steals, shot just 1-for-10 from the field with four rebounds and
four assists.

Jordan, who entered the game with a career average of 29.9
points in 28 games at the Meadowlands, drew cheers when he hit his
first shot of the game, an 18-foot jumper. But he was on the bench
with two fouls just 6 Ā½minutes into the first quarter.

Martin grabbed his 10th rebound with 1:35 left before halftime
and converted it into a dunk, but the Wizards led 43-39 at the
break as Kidd shot 0-for-8.

Kidd made his first shot of the third quarter, a 3-pointer, and
Lucious Harris gave the Nets their first tie since early in the
game on a jumper with 2:35 left in the quarter to make it 57-57.

New Jersey led 65-59 entering the fourth after closing the
quarter with a 19-6 run.

Game notes
Odd play in the fourth quarter: Chris Childs was called for
an offensive foul for kicking Brendan Haywood in the groin while
going in for a fast-break layup. On the same play, Washington's
Bryon Russell drew a technical foul for hitting Childs in the head.
... Nets G Kerry Kittles missed the game for personal reasons.

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