New Jersey wins series 4-0 (Game 2 of 4)

New Jersey wins series 4-0

Game 1: Saturday, April 17th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 20th
Game 3: Thursday, April 22nd
Game 4: Sunday, April 25th

Knicks 81

(39-43, 16-25 away)

Nets 99

(47-35, 28-13 home)

    8:00 PM ET, April 20, 2004

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 24 15 20 2281
    NJ 26 26 20 2799

    Top Performers

    NY: K. Thomas 18 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    NJ: K. Martin 22 Pts, 16 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Series now shifts to Manhattan

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Once again, the New Jersey Nets were the source of the hardest fouls and the best basketball.

    The mismatch also known as the Knicks-Nets series stuck to form Tuesday night, New Jersey showing its superiority over an outmatched and banged-up opponent in a 99-81 victory.

    The Nets opened a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which resumes Thursday night at New York.

    The Knicks weren't as docile as they were in the series opener when Tim Thomas was flagrantly fouled and injured, but they didn't put up all that much of a fight, either.

    "I think they were aggressive, but I don't think they were more physical," Kenyon Martin said.

    Jason Kidd and Martin led the way as the Nets took control in the second quarter, and New Jersey led by as many as 22 points in defeating the Knicks for the 14th time in their last 16 meetings.

    Martin led New Jersey with 22 points and 16 rebounds, and he also had the most egregious foul of the game midway through the third quarter. Although it was not called a flagrant foul, he reached around from behind Dikembe Mutombo and swiped violently at his arms, then shoved Mutombo in the back to earn a technical foul.

    "I just wanted to foul him. I didn't want to get a tech," said Martin, who was angered on the previous possession when he was elbowed in the nose by Mutombo. "Emotions were running high."

    Richard Jefferson also had a harder-than-usual foul, chasing down Stephon Marbury and clobbering him as he went up for a layup on a fast break. Marbury jumped up quickly and appeared ready to confront Jefferson, but he thought otherwise -- perhaps remembering he already had been called for a technical foul -- and walked to the foul line under referee Greg Willard's escort.

    "I just wanted to make sure he didn't get an 'and-one," Jefferson said. "He's a competitor, I'm a competitor. I'm not going to do anything to hurt him, I have too much respect for him and too much respect for the game of basketball."

    Asked if he felt the foul was dirty, Marbury replied: "No comment."

    New York pulled to 66-56 on a transition jumper by Kurt Thomas late in the third quarter, but Rodney Rogers answered with a 3-pointer and a layup. New Jersey then opened the fourth quarter with a 10-4 run to end all doubt.

    Jefferson had 20 points, Kerry Kittles scored 16, Kidd 15 and Rogers 12.

    Marbury, one of the few offense-minded players the Knicks had left as Tim Thomas (bruised back and ankle) and Allan Houston (knee soreness) sat out, led New York with 23 points. Kurt Thomas had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Penny Hardaway, who replaced Tim Thomas in the starting lineup, added 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

    The Nets didn't score their second fast-break basket until midway through the second quarter, but they finished with 20 points on the break to help overcome 25 turnovers.

    "For us right now, our mind-set totally has to change," Marbury said.

    Perhaps no play signified how lost the Knicks were as one less than two minutes into the second half. The Nets, as they did throughout Game 1 and much of Game 2, sent a second defender to trap Marbury at midcourt as he dribbled.

    Marbury was able to get the ball to Kurt Thomas, but the Knicks' offense came to a complete stop. Martin reached in and poked the ball loose, and Kidd streaked downcourt with it before feeding a behind-the-back pass to Martin for a dunk. Thomas shoved Martin in the lower back as he scored, and the three-point play gave New Jersey its first 20-point lead, 59-39.

    The same trap caused an 8-second backcourt violation, and New York committed six turnovers in all during the third quarter.

    The hard fouls ceased in the final 12 minutes, and Nets coach Lawrence Frank pulled Kidd and Jefferson with 4:24 remaining and New Jersey ahead by 19.

    With 46 seconds left, the few fans still remaining chanted "Sweep."

    "There was a lot of trash talking out there," Hardaway said. "Every time we went to the basket they gave a hard foul. They were letting us know it's the playoffs, and they've been there and we haven't, and that's it's going to be real hard to get a win in their building."< ^Notes: Marbury had only five points in the second half, all from the foul line. ... Martin dunked over Mutombo during the first quarter and wagged a finger at the four-time defensive player of the year. Jefferson tried to dunk over Mutombo in the third quarter and whacked Mutombo across the face as he went up. No foul was called. ... Marbury committed a hard foul against Jefferson, smacking him across the wrist as Jefferson tried to drive the lane.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 99
    FGM-FGA 30-88 (.341) 38-71 (.535)
    3PM-3PA 4-16 (.250) 7-18 (.389)
    FTM-FTA 17-21 (.810) 16-24 (.667)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-42 7-44
    Assists 20 28
    Turnovers 19 25
    Steals 13 12
    Blocks 4 8
    Fast Break Points 4 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (2/0) 20 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    New Jersey
    Kurt Thomas Thomas
    Points: 18
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 22
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2