Final / OT

New Jersey wins series 4-2 (Game 4 of 6)

New Jersey wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Saturday, April 26th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st

Nets 114

(49-33, 16-25 away)

Bucks 119

(42-40, 25-16 home)

    4:00 PM ET, April 26, 2003

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    NJ 26 26 23 25 14114
    MIL 25 26 36 13 19119

    Top Performers

    NJ: K. Martin 30 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

    Mil: G. Payton 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 14 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Bucks get it done in OT after late collapse

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Bucks collapsed in the fourth quarter, but the Nets missed nine free throws while it was happening.

    Tim Thomas

    Tim Thomas had 20 points for the Bucks on Saturday.

    After squandering a 14-point lead in the final 6 minutes of regulation, the Bucks defeated New Jersey 119-114 in overtime Saturday to even their first-round series at two games apiece.

    "If I make the free throws, the game doesn't go into overtime,'' said Kenyon Martin, who led the Nets with 30 points but was 0-for-3 from the line over the closing minutes. New Jersey's nine misses came in the final 3:49.

    The Bucks seemed to be cruising midway through the fourth period when Sam Cassell hit a 3-pointer to put them up 99-85.

    But their offense shut down, while Martin and Richard Jefferson came to life -- except at the line.

    Martin began the Nets' run by converting a three-point play, and he combined with Jefferson for 12 points in a 14-0 run that tied the game at 99.

    But they couldn't hit their free throws, combining to go just 4-of-11 over the final minutes. Even worse, the Nets had started the game by converting their first 15 at the line. At one point, Martin seemed stunned that he couldn't hit from the line and Jason Kidd tried to talk him out of his shooting slump.

    "The ball just didn't go in for us at the right time, and they made some big threes,'' Kidd said.

    Just as ugly was Milwaukee's collapse. The Bucks missed 3-pointers that had been going down earlier. Gary Payton missed shots in the lane. They kept putting New Jersey at the line.

    Toni Kukoc finally ended Milwaukee's scoreless streak in the fourth period when he made one of two free throws with one minute, 23 seconds left for a 100-99 lead.

    Jefferson tied it up by hitting one of two from the line, and Kukoc and Kidd missed shots in the final seconds that could have won the game.

    As well as the Bucks played for more than three periods, coach George Karl said they couldn't have played any worse with the game on the line.

    "Then we started getting goofy. The offense the last 10 possessions of the fourth quarter had to be ugly to watch because it wasn't very good,'' Karl said. "New Jersey got hyped and we didn't react well to it.''

    Kukoc came off the bench to lead Milwaukee with 23 points, while Payton had 20 points and 14 assists, tying his career-high for a playoff game.

    Game 5 is Tuesday in New Jersey.

    "That's just been us all year. You can never leave a Bucks game early because you never know what's going to happen,'' said Milwaukee forward Tim Thomas.

    Jefferson had 28 points for the Nets, while Kidd had 15 points and 10 assists.

    Jefferson, whose previous playoff high was 16 points against Charlotte in May, opened the game with 11 straight points, including five-of-five from the line.

    He helped New Jersey open a 13-point lead in the first period, but Milwaukee scored the final nine points of the quarter, including Kukoc's 3-pointer at the buzzer, to trail by 26-25.

    New Jersey's win in Game 3 was a particularly physical affair that featured six technical fouls and an outburst from Karl after the referees did not call a foul on Martin for outdueling Anthony Mason for a key rebound that led to the winning basket. Karl later called the game a "wrestling match.''

    The intensity continued Saturday with 15 fouls in the first period and two technicals on Milwaukee's Payton and Tim Thomas for arguing calls.

    The referees then tacked on another four technicals in the third period after Kerry Kittles hit Cassell with an elbow.

    Words were exchanged, players had to be separated, and Cassell, Kittles, New Jersey's Aaron Williams and Milwaukee's Ervin Johnson each picked up a technical.

    The Nets ended up attempting 47 free throws compared to 28 for the Bucks. But Karl was much more reserved in his criticism of the officials compared to Thursday when he said it was a "disgrace'' the Bucks had lost because of an officials call.

    Game notes

    The only time the Bucks have overcome a 2-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 series was in 1986, when they beat Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. ... Bucks center Joel Przybilla started the game but committed his third foul just more than four minutes into the game, sending him to the bench. He did not return. ... Milwaukee outrebounded New Jersey for the first time in the series, holding a 43-41 edge. The Nets had been beating the Bucks by 11 rebounds a game for the first three games of the series. ... New Jersey C Dikembe Mutombo did not play.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 114 119
    FGM-FGA 39-75 (.520) 42-92 (.457)
    3PM-3PA 3-10 (.300) 11-24 (.458)
    FTM-FTA 33-47 (.702) 24-28 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-41 12-43
    Assists 23 20
    Turnovers 14 10
    Steals 5 3
    Blocks 4 3
    Fast Break Points 5 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (2/0) 37 (4/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 30
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 20
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 14
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1