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Knicks held to 28 points in second half

4/17/2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Knicks took a pounding
from the New Jersey Nets after making the mistake of pushing Jason
Kidd around.

The beating was so bad, Knicks forward Tim Thomas left the arena
in an ambulance and was to spend the night in a hospital after
being flagrantly fouled by Jason Collins in the Nets' 107-83
victory Saturday.

"We lost round one, and we got our butts beat," Knicks point
guard Stephon Marbury said. "It kind of looked ugly. If you were
watching a boxing match and saw that first round, you'd probably
think that guy was going to get killed."

Or knocked out, which is what happened to Thomas.

Driving to the basket midway through the fourth quarter, Thomas
was hit hard across the body and in the face by Collins. He landed
on his lower back, rolled over in pain and stayed down for a while
before walking off with assistance.

X-rays were negative. Thomas was diagnosed with multiple
contusions of the lower back, and he was wheeled out of the arena
face down on a stretcher.

His status for Game 2 on Tuesday night is questionable.

Penny Hardaway and Kurt Thomas of New York did not think the
foul was dirty, though Dikembe Mutombo disagreed.

"The best way to describe it was `Unnecessary.' You up more
than 15 points and you are about to win your first game at home,
why do you need it? Why do you need to foul someone that way?"
Mutombo said.

Several of the Knicks were more surprised at the second-quarter
play involving Kidd and New York backup guard Frank Williams, the
one that seemed to kick Kidd into high gear.

Marbury, who only had 13 points and two assists, was on the
bench with 7:34 to go in the quarter when the game turned.

Williams tried to take an offensive foul from Kidd as he led the
fast break. Kidd fed Martin for a slam, and Williams and Kidd
collided after the pass. Williams went down and Kidd stood over him
and appeared to say something.

With the Knicks inbounding, Williams shoved Kidd to the floor.
He got a technical, and the officials gave Kidd a technical for
taunting.

Kidd called it a misunderstanding.

"I didn't quite understand getting the T," Kidd said. "They
called taunting on me and I have to respect what the officials saw.
That play had no twist or turn in the game. It was just one of many
plays that took place in that game."

Williams would not repeat what Kidd said to him.

"No matter who is there on the court, you can't let anyone come
in and try to walk on you," Williams said. "You have to defend
yourself."

Television replays showed Nets forward Richard Jefferson taking
a step onto the court from the Nets bench during the altercation --
possibly a violation of an NBA rule the Knicks became familiar with
during their playoff rivalry with Miami during the late 1990s.

Right after the shove, Kidd ran down a rebound to set up Aaron
Williams' jumper, and he hit a 3-pointer right after that.

With the Knicks still within 59-55 late in the second quarter
and the clock winding down, Kidd drove to the right baseline and
drew a crowd of defenders. The All-Star point guard jumped and
threw a long pass to Brian Scalabrine, who nailed a 3-pointer at
the buzzer.

Kidd raced to the little-used forward and jumped into his arms,
almost as if the shot was a game-winner instead of one that gave
New Jersey a 62-55 halftime lead.

New Jersey put the game away in the opening minutes of the
second half, and Kidd was spectacular again.

With 10:15 to go, he stole the ball from Kurt Thomas and led a
fast break with Marbury alone on defense. Instead of making a
layup, Kidd realized Kenyon Martin was behind him and threw a pass
off the backboard for an emphatic dunk that got the near-sellout
crowd on its feet and sent the Knicks to the bench for another
worthless timeout.

New York missed its first 11 shots in the third quarter before
Michael Sweetney scored inside with 5:49 left in the quarter.

Kerry Kittles hit his first six shots and scored 20 points as
the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions shot nearly 60
percent in the first half and used their defense to put the game
away in the second half, holding New York to 28 points.

Jefferson added 21 points and Martin had 16 for the Nets, who
outscored New York 28-4 on the fast break -- including 14-2 in the
first quarter.

Hardaway had 18 points and Nazr Mohammed 16 for the Knicks, who
are making their first playoff appearance since 2001. New York had
several players score in spurts, but no one carried the team.

Game notes
Knicks G Allan Houston did not play because of a knee
problem . ... Scalabrine, who was questionable because of a
hamstring injury, played just four minutes and hit all three of his
shots. ... Nets C Alonzo Mourning, who had a kidney transplant in
December, was at the game. ... Spike Lee found a courtside seat for
the game. ... The Nets wore red socks.