New Jersey wins series 4-2 (Game 6 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 113

(49-33, 16-25 away)

Bucks 101

(42-40, 25-16 home)

    7:00 PM ET, May 1, 2003

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 30 26 32 25113
    MIL 18 26 26 31101

    Top Performers

    NJ: J. Kidd 22 Pts, 11 Reb, 11 Ast, 3 Stl

    Mil: G. Payton 24 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Kidd has triple-double in win over Bucks

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- In the arena formerly home to Milwaukee's "Big Three,'' the New Jersey Nets advanced to the second round of the playoffs behind their own awesome trio -- Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.

    Kenyon Martin

    Jason Kidd

    The Nets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-101 Thursday night to close out their best-of-seven series 4-2 behind Kidd's triple-double, Martin's 29 points and Jefferson's 16.

    "This is the time of year you want your three best playing at their very best,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said. "And we've got three guys in Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson that are playing exceptional basketball right now.

    "If they can keep this pace up and keep playing this way, it's going to be hard to beat us.''

    Kidd had 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds as the Nets advanced to the second round, where they'll play the Boston Celtics beginning Monday night.

    Scott said Jefferson and Martin "have arrived.''

    "Those guys are going to continue to get better and we have a point guard that's the best in this league,'' Scott said. "As far as a 1-2-3 punch, those guys are the very best.''

    The Bucks had their own trio of stars until they broke up the team, shipping Glenn Robinson to Atlanta before the season and Ray Allen to Seattle 2½ months ago.

    That left only Sam Cassell, who had one of the worst playoff performances of his career Thursday night, managing just four shots and five points as the Bucks trailed by as many as 22.

    Milwaukee was down 88-70 heading into the fourth quarter, and the best the Bucks could do from there was cut their deficit in half -- 99-90 on a basket by Gary Payton with 5½ minutes left.

    But Martin, who picked up his fifth foul and took a seat early in the fourth quarter, had two crucial offensive rebounds on one possession, dishing to Kerry Kittles for a 3-pointer to make it 102-90 with 4:37 remaining.

    "I wasn't going to play timid even though I had five fouls,'' Martin said. "And Kerry made a huge shot for us.''

    The Bucks were left to wonder if they'd played their last game with Payton, the All-Star point guard they acquired from Seattle on Feb. 20 in the blockbuster trade for Allen.

    Payton, who will be a free agent this summer, led the Bucks with 24 points and Michael Redd broke out of his series-long funk with 20 points.

    Payton said he was going to ponder his future in a month or two.

    "This series doesn't affect me at all,'' he said.

    But the 13-year veteran desperately desires a championship, and the chance at a title will be paramount in his decision.

    "I want to get back to where I was in '96 and get to a championship and it's going to play a big factor,'' Payton said. "It's going to be hard. I'm going to take my time and make the right decision. It's going to be my last decision.''

    If he elects to play elsewhere next season, the Bucks hope they can at least get something for Payton by doing a sign-and-trade deal.

    "My first choice would be to get Gary back and build the team around Payton and some of our young guys,'' Bucks coach George Karl said. "But if we have to go another way, there's still a lot of hope here, there's a lot of good young players. It's a good interesting basketball team that has a lot of danger to it.''

    But not on this night.

    The Nets took a 56-44 lead behind Martin's 15 first-half points, and the Bucks' unraveling continued in the opening minutes of the third quarter, when New Jersey opened the second half on a 12-3 run that included a free throw by Kidd after Cassell was whistled for a technical foul for arguing -- after he'd drawn a whistle on Kittles.

    The Bucks trailed 52-44 and had a chance to whittle the deficit even further when Thomas was whistled for an iffy charge on Kidd, who was still moving into position when he drew the call with 20.6 seconds left before halftime.

    Kidd then sank a jumper over Payton with 3.6 seconds on the clock, then stole Toni Kukoc's inbounds lob near midcourt and raced in for a layup at the buzzer that gave the Nets a 56-44 halftime lead.

    "I was just playing free safety,'' Kidd said. "My second love is football, so I just tried to intercept it.''

    The play deflated the Bucks.

    "If we score, we cut it to six. And they knock it up for 12,'' Karl said. "I think that gave them a lot of hope, a lot of confidence.''

    Game notes

    The Bucks were outrebounded 46-29, but that came as no surprise to Milwaukee guard Michael Redd. "All season long rebounding has been our Achilles' heel,'' he said. ... Karl fell to 22-13 in his career when facing elimination, including 16-5 at home. ... The Nets have won two other playoff series on the road, at Philadelphia in 1984 and at Boston last year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 113 101
    FGM-FGA 40-81 (.494) 38-72 (.528)
    3PM-3PA 6-16 (.375) 4-9 (.444)
    FTM-FTA 27-35 (.771) 21-28 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 20-46 8-29
    Assists 25 22
    Turnovers 14 16
    Steals 5 6
    Blocks 4 4
    Fast Break Points 4 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 27 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 22
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 24
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0