San Antonio wins series 4-2 (Game 2 of 6)

San Antonio wins series 4-2

Game 1: Wednesday, June 4th
Game 2: Friday, June 6th
Game 3: Sunday, June 8th
Game 4: Wednesday, June 11th
Game 5: Friday, June 13th
Game 6: Sunday, June 15th

Nets 87

(49-33, 16-25 away)

Spurs 85


    7:30 PM ET, June 6, 2003

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 19 22 25 2187
    SA 18 17 21 2985

    Top Performers

    NJ: J. Kidd 30 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast

    SA: T. Parker 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

    Nets steal home-court edge with first Finals win

    SAN ANTONIO -- In case San Antonio Spurs fans were wondering, that's why Tim Duncan wants Jason Kidd as a sidekick so badly.

    Kidd's horrendous effort in a 101-89 series-opening loss on Wednesday had the Spurs faithful voicing their dissent even louder over the team's interest in the All-Star point guard, but they may have to reconsider after Kidd redeemed himself with a game-high 30 points, including the New Jersey Nets' last seven, to help even the NBA Finals with an 87-85 victory.

    The win was the Nets' first in the NBA Finals in six tries and the Eastern Conference's first since the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 Finals.

    Game 3 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) is Sunday in New Jersey at Continental Airlines Arena.

    "This team always has a lot of confidence, but the big thing is that we stopped the streak," Kidd said. "We knew we couldn't lose eight in a row in the Finals."

    "We're not looking at it as a proud moment because we won our first game in the NBA Finals," said head coach Byron Scott, whose Nets had lost five straight championship-round games dating back to last year's 4-0 series loss to the Lakers. "All we did is tie it up and take homecourt advantage."

    As blasť as Scott sounded, his team has reason to feel good -- and relieved. The Nets barely held on to a 15-point, third-quarter lead at 62-47 as the Spurs -- criticized for their inability to hold onto late leads themselves in the playoffs -- crawled back to within three at 78-75 on Tony Parker's runner and pulled within one at 80-79 on another Parker runner.

    But Kidd responded with a hanging seven-foot bank shot over David Robinson and buried five of six free throws in the final 19.9 seconds. Kidd's most clutch play, however, was sprinting downcourt to get a hand in the face of Stephen Jackson, whose last-second 3-pointer would've won the game but hit the back rim. With 9.9 seconds left, Jackson hit a three to cut New Jersey's lead to 86-85.

    Kidd had 13 points in the fourth quarter and finished with eight rebounds and seven assists. More importantly for the Nets, he shot a respectable 11-of-24 from the field after making only four of his 17 shots in Game 1.

    "Once I made a couple of shots, I felt a little more comfortable," Kidd said. "I tried to let the game come to me."

    "He was in attack mode all night long," Scott said. "He did a heck of a job being aggressive offensively and in a game when Jason is playing like that, he pretty much makes everybody on our team better."

    "Jason was huge tonight," Duncan said. "He's just real aggressive ... He was all over the place. But at the same time, I thought Tony went right back at him. He didn't neutralize him, but I thought he attacked him well enough to keep him on his heels."

    Parker scored 21 points, which led the Spurs because Duncan was hardly his MVP self. Duncan recorded his usual double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but he worked for every point against the Nets' double-teaming. On Wednesday against single coverage, Duncan went off for 32 points and 20 rebounds.

    "It was just better team defense ... We were just trying to give him a different look," Kenyon Martin said. "The guys did an excellent job digging down and making him guess."

    "I thought they did a great job of playing between guys," said Duncan, who shot just 3-of-10 from the line. "They found a way to cut off lanes."

    The Nets' increased pressure on defense led to 22 Spurs turnovers, but San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich chalked up the carelessness with the ball on his young team taking the Nets too lightly.

    "I thought we were real sloppy, at times I was very disappointed when I was watching," Popovich said. "... We almost got lucky at the end, but they deserved to win the ballgame."

    "He was a little bit scared that we don't respect New Jersey ... and he was right," Parker said. "We weren't ready."

    When Scott made his usual move of playing his second unit at the start of the second quarter, Dikembe Mutombo, not Aaron Williams, was on the floor. Mutombo stayed out there for all 12 minutes, giving the Nets an unexpected lift offensively with an up-and-under move by Duncan and a jump hook over the league MVP. The four-time Defensive Player of the Year even did his trademark finger wag to the crowd after rejecting Kevin Willis' layup attempt.

    Mutombo's defensive presence, along with Lucious Harris' hot shooting (4-of-6 and eight points in the first half), enabled the Nets to stretch a 19-18 lead after one quarter to 41-35 after two.

    "I thought he played very well," Duncan said of Mutombo, who played an inspired six minutes in Game 1 to earn his 20 minutes Friday. "He does what he usually does. He affects shots around the basket. ... I thought he was a big boost for them. He played with a lot of energy."

    "We made (Duncan) think twice, sometimes three times," said Mutombo, who had four points, four rebounds and three blocks. "We challenged him every time when he was going to the basket."

    Kidd took a step toward redemption by sinking all three of his first-quarter shots for seven points. He struggled to score in the second period, however, making just one of six attempts. Kidd also hit the floor three times, including a hard spill at midcourt after stumbling on a fastbreak.

    Duncan got lots of attention whenever he touched the ball, as the Nets dropped down a defender to help Martin and Jason Collins. Even though foul trouble kept Martin on the bench, Duncan still suffered through a rough half, missing eight of 12 shots and all four of his free-throw attempts for eight points.

    The Spurs expected to encounter a much more aggressive New Jersey squad, one that was "going to try to take our heads off," according to Jackson. The Nets had their minds elsewhere as San Antonio scored seven straight points to start the game, allowing the shrill of the SBC Center's P.A. announcer/cheerleader to endanger the ear drums of the sellout crowd. Kidd willed New Jersey back from a 10-2 deficit by scoring six points during a 17-8 quarter-closing run for a 19-18 lead.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 85
    FGM-FGA 35-83 (.422) 33-68 (.485)
    3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 13-16 (.813) 14-25 (.560)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-39 14-43
    Assists 16 17
    Turnovers 14 22
    Steals 9 6
    Blocks 5 7
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    San Antonio
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 30
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Tony Parker Parker
    Points: 21
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1