(37-18, 13-15 away)
(37-18, 25-3 home)
7:30 PM ET, February 20, 2003
IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ
Jason Kidd, right, had little problems getting passes or shots off against the Pacers on Thursday.
"He was in attack mode,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said of Kidd after the Nets rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit in yet another chippy game between the two young, emotional Eastern Conference foes.
"The only thing I asked the other guys to do was run with him,'' Scott added. "Get out on the break with him. Give him some options.''
Kidd had five points, seven assists and four rebounds in a so-so first half that saw Indiana take a 55-45 lead.
Martin, who had 15 points in the half, knew that wasn't the way the Nets were going to win, so he went up to Kidd in the locker at halftime.
"I told him at halftime that, 'I need you in the second half,''' Martin recalled.
Kidd responded. He played all 24 minutes, hit 8-for-11 from the field, 9-for-10 from the foul line and added five of his 12 assists and five of his nine rebounds.
"Any time a teammate comes up to you and asks something like that, you have to respond,'' Kidd said. "And I did.''
Tempers flared repeatedly and the officiating crew called six technicals and one flagrant foul. Artest, the Pacers' bad boy, got the flagrant and a technical, and generally seemed a little out of control.
Martin finished with 19 points for the Nets, who limited Indiana to 12-for-39 shooting (31 percent) in the second half.
"We understand what the problem is. The problem is Jason Kidd,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "Just because you know what the problem is doesn't mean you can solve it. We'll keep trying to figure out how to get him under control.''
Al Harrington came off the bench and had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers, who dropped their season-high third straight game. Jermaine O'Neal and Brad Miller had 18 apiece and Reggie Miller added 14.
"I understand that there's going to be some adversity in a season, you're never going to have a smooth-going season where you rise above and play good basketball for 82 games,'' Thomas said.
Indiana had a chance to tie it in the final minute after Artest hit a 3-pointer and Reggie Miller made two free throws to close the Nets' lead to 94-91.
After Richard Jefferson missed a shot for New Jersey, the Pacers came down the floor and Reggie Miller ran around the 3-pointer perimeter looking for a pass to attempt a tying shot, much like he did in Game 5 of the Pacers-Nets first round playoff series last season.
Last spring, Miller banked in a phenomenal half-court shot to tie the deciding game, which the Nets won in double overtime.
This time, New Jersey prevented Miller from touching the ball and O'Neal ended up missing a shot down low.
Kidd then added two free throws with 17.7 seconds to play and Harrington turned the ball over the Pacers' next possession.
The Nets never trailed in the fourth quarter after Kidd scored eight points in a 25-9 spurt that gave New Jersey a 70-69 lead entering the final period.
Every time the Pacers got close, Kidd found a way around Artest for a basket or he was fouled and that gave New Jersey its second straight win over Indiana this season.
"A couple of times Kidd was blowing right by me, not because he's faster than me but because I haven't been guarding point guards all year,'' Artest said. "It was my first game guarding a point guard all year, but I can guard him."
When the teams meet in the first week of the season, there were nine technical fouls, four flagrants and three ejections in the Nets' 102-91 win.
Artest, arguably the NBA's best defensive player, got the flagrant foul after grabbing a rebound and raising his elbow to the head of Nets center Aaron Williams. Artest added a fourth-quarter technical for throwing a ball into the back of referee Bennie Adams.
Artest, who said the incident with Adams was an accident, now has five flagrant foul-related points. He will be suspended for a game if he reaches six.
Kidd, Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley, Martin and Harrington got the other technicals.
The Nets honored their 1975-76 ABA championship team by wearing jerseys from that era ... The game was the 200th between the two former ABA members ... Nets president Rod Thorn said the team entertained some trade talks on Thursday but there was "nothing substantive at all.'' ... The Pacers activated Jonathan Bender from the injured list before the game and placed G Fred Jones on the list.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||34-83 (.410)||35-71 (.493)|
|3PM-3PA||5-15 (.333)||3-10 (.300)|
|FTM-FTA||18-27 (.667)||25-34 (.735)|
|Fast Break Points||5||7|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||25 (3/1)||25 (3/0)|