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13 in a row for Nets; Frank 12-0 as coach

2/22/2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets are playing so
well, even their sick players are playing like "Superman."

Kenyon Martin had 23 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and four
blocks, and Nets tied the longest winning streak in the NBA this
season -- 13 -- with a 97-84 victory Saturday over the New Orleans
Hornets.

"To be truthful, I really didn't feel well, but I'm here so I
am going to show up and play," said Martin who also had two
assists in 40-plus minutes despite having trouble breathing because
of a sinus infection.

The one play that everyone talked about after the Nets won their
12th straight under coach Lawrence Frank was his block on a
3-pointer by Darrell Armstrong with 6:33 left in the game.

New Jersey had a 14-point lead at that point, but the block was
special.

Martin jumped out to the top of the right key to guard Jamal
Mashburn and then leapt from about a step outside the left side of
the key to deflect the shot from deep in the left corner.

"Kenyon Martin is Superman," Frank said. "I have never seen a
block like that. He was guarding five people in one possession."

"That was a huge play," Martin said. "I haven't done that in
a while."

The Nets also haven't lost in a while.

The victory extended Frank's league record for best coaching
start and tied the North American mark for the best start in
professional sports.

Joe Morgan took over the Boston Red Sox from John McNamara in
1988 and won a dozen. Jim Price won that many after taking over the
baseball New York Giants in 1884.

"Our mindset is not about losing," Jason Kidd said. "Our
mindset is about getting better each time we take the floor."

Richard Jefferson added 21 points and Lucious Harris broke a
nine-game double- digit drought with 13 points as New Jersey won
its seventh straight at home.

Kidd finished with 11 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to
just miss out on his 59th career triple-double, which would have
tied him with Larry Bird.

Mashburn led the Hornets with 28 points and 13 rebounds. Baron
Davis added 17 points. Neither shot well, though, as they combined
to go 17-for-48 from the field.

"They are flying high right now," Hornets forward P.J. Brown
said of the Nets. "They have won 13 in a row and things have been
going well for them. They are definitely a confident team now. We
played at the same level with them, but we only did it in spurts.
Against that team you have to be solid."

San Antonio and Detroit also won 13 in a row this season.

While the Nets have done nothing but win since Frank replaced
Byron Scott as coach of the two-time defending Eastern Conference
champions, this game looked like it might be a problem.

New Orleans, which had won three in a row, had not played since
Wednesday. The Nets were playing their second game in as many
nights, having returned home early Saturday after winning at
Toronto.

The Nets overcame that by playing good team basketball while New
Orleans relied mostly on Davis and Mashburn to carry the load.

New Orleans, which fell behind by as many as 10 points in the
second quarter, used a 13-6 run at the start of the second half to
pull even.

Martin, who had six points and two rebounds in 24 minutes on
Friday, then took over by scoring six points in a 10-0 run that
gave New Jersey a 69-59 lead.

New Jersey entered the final quarter with a 74-68 lead, then put
the game away with a 10-2 spurt that Martin capped with a
three-point play. He had five points in the run, which came with
Kidd on the bench.

Game notes
Harris scored in double figures for the first time since
Jan. 29. ... Nets first-round draft pick Zoran Planinic played so
poorly in Toronto on Friday that Frank played veteran Hubert Davis
when Kidd sat. Planinic did not play. ... Mashburn has led the
Hornets in seven of 10 games since returning to the lineup. ... New
Jersey had a season-high 11 blocks and outrebounded New Orleans
54-44. ...