Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Tuesday, November 18th
Game 2: Monday, February 2nd
Game 3: Saturday, February 21st

Hornets 84

(30-25, 13-14 away)

Nets 97

(34-20, 19-8 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, February 21, 2004

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 24 20 24 1684
    NJ 25 26 23 2397

    Top Performers

    NO: J. Mashburn 28 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    NJ: K. Martin 23 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Stl, 4 Blk

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

    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. ...

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 97
    FGM-FGA 29-81 (.358) 36-87 (.414)
    3PM-3PA 6-16 (.375) 2-7 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 20-28 (.714) 23-26 (.885)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-44 13-53
    Assists 10 21
    Turnovers 13 11
    Steals 6 10
    Blocks 3 11
    Fast Break Points 1 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (2/0) 26 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    New Jersey
    Jamal Mashburn Mashburn
    Points: 28
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 23
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 4