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Nets nab ninth straight behind Kidd's triple-double

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jason Kidd's 69th career
triple-double helped New Jersey to its ninth straight victory,
while Grant Hill's latest injury left Orlando wondering about its
All-Star's future.

Kidd had 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, and the Nets
beat the Magic 113-106 Friday night.

Hill scored 14 points in the first half, but reaggravated the
strained groin that forced him to have sports hernia surgery before
the season and has kept him on the sidelines for all but 10 games
this season. He tried to play in the second half, but pulled
himself out after just 2 minutes.

"I'm running out of ideas," Hill said. "I really don't know
what to do. "I don't have any answers. It's very frustrating."

Hill has missed most of four full seasons, including the entire
2003-04 season due to ankle injuries. He missed the first 19 games
this season after having sports hernia surgery Oct. 31 and just
returned to action Friday after missing Wednesday's loss at
Toronto.

"I felt pretty good in the first half, but then I felt
something going for a loose ball right before halftime," he said.
"I thought I was moving around good, but I tried to go in the
third quarter and couldn't. I'll get more treatment and see how I
feel tomorrow. I'm going to try to keep pressing on, because my
desire is still there. But it's tough for me to keep weathering the
storm."

Vince Carter scored 31 points, going 14-of-15 from the free
throw line, to lead six Nets players in double figures. Richard
Jefferson added 15 points, Nenad Krstic had 14, and reserves
Clifford Robinson and Jacque Vaughn each scored 10.

Dwight Howard paced the Magic with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Jameer Nelson had 18 points and Hedo Turkoglu 14 for the Magic, who
have lost three straight following a three-game winning streak.

They were more concerned about Hill.

"I'm sure it's discouraging for him," coach Brian Hill said.
"He looked to me that he was having some pain and I didn't want to
take any chances. I saw him wincing out there and holding his
midsection. It didn't make sense for him to continue. I know he's
down."

The Nets (18-12), on the fourth-longest win streak in franchise
history, put away the game by outscoring the Magic 28-16 in the
third quarter. Jefferson and Carter each scored seven points before
Robinson closed the period with a 3-pointer for an 83-63 lead.

Friday night was the first time that the Nets had played since
beating Atlanta on Dec. 30, giving them a stretch of six days
without action.

"I got fresh legs," Kidd said. "We understood what was at
stake. We didn't want to go out on the road, losing a game after a
long layoff."

The Magic (12-18) cut the lead to 101-94 on a driving basket by
Nelson with a minute left but got no closer.

The teams traded the lead eight times and had 14 ties in a
closely contested first half, before the Nets went on a 10-2 run to
take a 55-47 halftime lead. Krstic finished the first half with
consecutive jump shots, the second coming off a scramble for the
ball at the foul line.

Kidd scored five of the Nets' final 10 points of the first half
on a 3-pointer and two free throws.

"You can't take what Jason does for granted," Nets coach
Lawrence Frank said. "It's unreal that he gets a triple-double so
many times. You can never take great players for granted. We
appreciate all the things he does for us. Some of the things he
does you can't put a value on. His leadership, showing the way and
setting the tone. He's just a special player."

Game notes
Kidd's triple-double total is more than that of 22 of the
NBA's teams. He ranks fourth all-time, trailing Oscar Robertson
(181), Magic Johnson (138) and Wilt Chamberlain (78). ... Veteran
referee Jim Clark missed part of the third quarter after he was
apparently kicked in the head by a tumbling performer right before
the second half was set to begin.