Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 12/21

Game 1: Wednesday, December 21st
Game 2: Friday, January 6th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 22nd

Magic 93

(19-34, 6-21 away)

Nets 96

(30-23, 18-7 home)

7:30 PM ET, February 22, 2006

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
ORL 29 27 14 2393
NJ 25 21 23 2796

Top Performers

Orl: K. Dooling 23 Pts, 1 Reb, 6 Ast

NJ: J. Kidd 28 Pts, 7 Reb, 11 Ast, 3 Stl

Kidd, Nets drop Magic to eighth straight loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets are starting to get the hang of these comeback wins.

Kidd scored 28 points, including seven in the final 2:29, to help New Jersey defeat Orlando 96-93 Wednesday night, hours after the Magic traded Steve Francis to the Knicks.

Erasing second-half deficits hasn't been the Nets' strength this season. Entering the All-Star break, New Jersey was 5-18 record when trailing after two quarters.

That was before Tuesday's 89-85 win at Milwaukee in which the Nets rallied to win behind Vince Carter's 45 points. On Wednesday, Kidd stepped to the fore to put down a spirited effort by the Magic.

Richard Jefferson added 23 points and Carter scored 22 for New Jersey (30-23), which has won seven of its last nine games. Keyon Dooling scored 23 to lead Orlando (19-34), which has lost eight straight and 12 of 13.

Dooling had just tied the game at 85 with a jumper with 3:07 left when Carter missed an 18-footer for New Jersey. The rebound was tapped by Clifford Robinson, then slapped out to Kidd at the top of the key by Jason Collins. Kidd buried the shot and the Nets led the rest of the way, though they only escaped for good when Carlos Arroyo's 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.

Carter has been the Nets' usual workhorse in the late stages of games this season, but Kidd sensed his teammate might be dragging just a little after his Herculean effort a night earlier.

"It was more of a feeling," Kidd said. "Vince might have been a little tired. I don't want him to feel that he has to carry the team every night. That's what teammates do. He was getting so much attention, other guys had to step up."

Playing without Francis and with Jameer Nelson (sprained right foot), Hedo Turkoglu (sprained left ankle) and Grant Hill (lower abdominal strain) sidelined, the Magic outhustled the Nets in the first two quarters and led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter.

"I don't know if it was the trade, but we were more focused," said DeShawn Stevenson, who had 14 points. "Everybody went out there and played together as a team."

Dwight Howard scored 17 for the Magic.

Kidd, Carter and Jefferson scored nine straight points to help New Jersey trail by one going into the fourth.

Dooling, Arroyo and Stevenson combined for 36 points on 15-for-20 shooting in the first half before New Jersey made adjustments at halftime and held them to just 14 points in the second half.

"In our mind we felt they were going to play even harder because they were undermanned," Carter said. "But the effort in the first half was not what we wanted."

Carter drew Dooling's fifth foul and Kidd scored on a driving left-handed layup to give the Nets an 85-80 lead with under four minutes to play. But Pat Garrity rattled in a 3-pointer and Dooling, left alone 18 feet from the basket, sank a jumper to tie the game.

Kidd responded with his 3-pointer and, after Dooling missed a jumper, a drive down the right side for another score to restore the lead to five points. Garrity sank another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 94-92 with 27 seconds left, and Carter missed a foul shot after an intentional foul. On the ensuing possession, Kidd made two free throws with 18 seconds left to push the lead to 96-92.

Orlando outshot New Jersey 53 percent (36-for-68) to 42 percent (33-for-78) but missed 12 free throws and attempted only six 3-pointers, making two. Coach Brian Hill was impressed with his team's effort.

"I'm proud of the way they played," Hill said. "I told them to keep two things in mind: if we play as hard as we did tonight and we play as unselfishly sharing the ball, we'll win our share of games down the stretch."

Game notes

Trevor Ariza, acquired along with Penny Hardaway for Francis, sat on the bench in street clothes as he had yet to take his physical. He said he learned about the trade while sitting in a barber's chair in Harlem Wednesday afternoon ... Hardaway was not in attendance ... The Nets face Francis and the Knicks Friday at Madison Square Garden ... The Nets honored Julius Erving and the 30th anniversary of the franchise's ABA championship in 1975-76 at halftime.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 93 96
FGM-FGA 36-68 (.529) 33-78 (.423)
3PM-3PA 2-6 (.333) 6-17 (.353)
FTM-FTA 19-31 (.613) 24-27 (.889)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-36 15-41
Assists 18 20
Turnovers 16 12
Steals 7 8
Blocks 5 3
Fast Break Points 6 17
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 24 (2/0)
Largest Lead 13 6

Top Performers

New Jersey
Keyon Dooling Dooling
Points: 23
Reb: 1
Ast: 6
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Jason Kidd Kidd
Points: 28
Reb: 7
Ast: 11
Stl: 3
Blk: 0