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Martin scores 16 of his 25 points in fourth quarter

5/21/2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Down 11 points early in the fourth
quarter, the New Jersey Nets were in dire need of offense from
somebody -- anybody.

Kenyon Martin came through, scoring 14 of his team's 16 points
in the comeback run as the Nets rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons
88-86 Tuesday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference
finals.

"I didn't have a great three quarters, so I wanted to come out
in the fourth quarter and be aggressive and attack the rim,'' said
Martin, who had 16 of his 25 points in the final period. "I got a
couple of calls, a couple of shots fell for me. I got my team back
into the game.''

The Nets head home for Thursday's Game 3 with two two-point
victories, neither of them pretty, but they now have a load of
history on their side. Only two NBA teams have won a best-of-seven
series after losing the first two games at home.

"We feel pretty good where we stand right now,'' Nets coach
Byron Scott said.

As for the Pistons, they were left to regret another blown
fourth-quarter lead. Another two-point loss. Another last-second
shot that didn't go in, this time by Chauncey Billups. The team
that has pulled so many out of its hat suddenly can't find the
magic. They have scored a total of 30 points in the two fourth
quarters of this series.

"Forget the last play,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "It
shouldn't come down to the last play when you have a lead in the
fourth like we did. We just made too many careless mistakes down
the stretch: turnovers, defensive mistakes, a technical foul. We
just did things you just can't do at this stage of the playoffs.''

Richard Jefferson's two free throws with 48 seconds remaining
were the winning points, but the Pistons had two chances to tie or
win. Corliss Williamson missed a short hook with about 30 seconds
left, and Billups couldn't put any mustard on a 3-pointer at the
buzzer with Jason Kidd in his face.

"I thought he pressed up into me with his body a little bit,''
said Billups, whose attempt came on an inbounds plays with 1.8
seconds left. "But they didn't call anything. So I guess it's not
a foul. It shouldn't matter what time of the game -- a foul is a
foul.''

Not surprisingly, Kidd said it was just close defense. Very
close.

"I didn't do too well in math, so I don't know how close,''
Kidd said. "I didn't jump. I just put my arm up to contest. Once
he pumped faked, I just tried to get closer to him.''

The Nets came back from 10 down late in the third quarter in
Sunday's 76-74 victory in Game 1, with Kidd hitting the winning
shot with 1.4 seconds left.

New Jersey has won eight straight playoff games, including five
in a row on the road.

Richard Hamilton, an offensive spark for the Pistons in the
second half, led Detroit with 24 points, while Ben Wallace had
seven points and 19 rebounds. Billups, playing on a sprained left
ankle that is still not 100 percent, was 4-of-13 from the field for
15 points and had 10 assists.

Kidd had 20 points and seven assists for the Nets, while Jason
Collins held his own against Wallace with 11 points and a
career-high 14 rebounds.

The game included 14 ties and 16 lead changes and little
sustained offense until Hamilton got going in the third quarter.
The Nets stayed in the game with a 19-7 edge in offensive rebounds
for the game.

The Pistons seemed in control when Hamilton's short baseline
jumper made it 69-58 early in the fourth quarter.

But Martin would not let Detroit go easily. His personal run
included two three-point plays and a putback. Detroit's Jon Barry
lost the ball and drew a technical foul for complaining after
Martin rammed home a breakaway dunk.

And Martin did it all after getting his fourth foul late in the
third quarter.

"In his rookie year or the beginning of last year, I probably
would have had to take him out,'' Scott said. "But now he
understands what he needs to do and he made the right decisions out
there. I've been watching this kid from Day 1, and I'm seen him
grow unbelievably. Now he is playing like a superstar. This is the
time of the year where you can make a name for yourself, and that's
what he is doing.''

Kidd tied the game at 81 with a three-point play, making a
12-footer while acrobatically drawing the bump from Billups. An
exchange of baskets and free throws got the score to 86 with 1:07
remaining.

The first half was dominated by poor shooting and good defense.
Neither team could keep any momentum, and lead was bigger than five
points. The Pistons went nearly six minutes without a field goal
before closing the half with a modest 5-0 run to take a 42-39 lead.

The Pistons finally got a sustained run in the third quarter,
going on a 14-2 spurt to take a 58-48 lead. Hamilton sliced inside
for a layup and hit a 17-footer, and Wallace converted a
three-point play after stealing the ball from Martin at the other
end. Billups' 3-pointer got the lead to double digits late in the
period.

Game notes
After going with the braids in Game 1, Wallace sported his
trademark Afro on Tuesday. Asked if he'll keep the style for the
games in New Jersey, he said: "I don't know. Boy, you get jokes on
the road with the 'fro. They be killing the 'fro. Walk around with
signs: 'Haircut, $10' and all that. Sometimes you can't give it to
them on the road.'' ... New Jersey forward Aaron Williams, who
missed practice Monday to visit his ill grandmother in Illinois,
scored five points in 16 minutes. ... New Jersey trailed at the
half for the first time in this year's playoffs. They had led 10
times (9-1) and were tied once (0-1) through 11 games. ... The
Pistons lost for the first time when leading at the half in the
playoffs. They had been 7-0. ... Billups has made 51 straight free
throws. ... Prince, a rookie making his first playoff start, scored
just six points in 25 minutes.