Kidd comes up big in final minute for Nets

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- After trailing by as many as 13 and then
leading by as many as 25, Jason Kidd snuffed out a fourth-quarter
rally by Portland.

Kidd scored six points in a final 9-2 run as the New Jersey Nets
beat the Trail Blazers 93-86 Saturday night.

''A win is a win no matter if you win by two, one, or if you win
by 30,'' said Kidd, who finished with 28 points and eight assists.

The defending Eastern Conference champions had dropped their six
previous games in Portland, last winning 99-98 back on Jan. 30,

New Jersey had dropped its last two games, including a 126-118
overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

''The last two games we just weren't able to close it out, we
weren't able to make the big shot, and we weren't able to make free
throws,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said. ''Tonight we did and the
ball bounced our way a little bit. And we made some big shots.''

The Nets, already playing without center Dikembe Mutombo, lost
guard Kerry Kittles in the third quarter with an injury to his left

Kittles limped downcourt before he was helped to the locker
room. The Nets said X-rays were negative and Kittles was day-to-day
with a sprain.

The game marked the return of Blazers' reserve forward Ruben
Patterson, who was arrested Monday on felony domestic abuse charges
and did not play Tuesday night in the Trail Blazers 77-71 victory
over Houston.

Patterson came into the game to start the second quarter and
made his presence known with a layup and a free throw that made it
30-17 -- capping a 9-0 Blazers' run.

But the Nets chipped away at the lead, and Kidd single-handedly
took New Jersey from a 35-31 deficit to 38-35 lead with a 19-foot
jumper, a driving layup and a 3-pointer with 3:38 to go before the

Kittles' 3-pointer with 42 seconds left gave the Nets a 45-41
lead at the half.

The Nets padded their lead throughout the third quarter, going
up 75-50 on Rodney Rogers' 3-pointer with 2:40 to go.

The Blazers made it a game in the fourth quarter, when Damon
Stoudamire scored eight points in a 13-3 Portland run that narrowed
the deficit to 82-79.

Stoudamire's 3-pointer with 2:24 left tied it at 84-84, but
Nets' final 9-2 run sealed it.

''The one thing we can learn is that the game is never over,''
Kidd said. ''We all understood that, we kept our composure and we
got a win on the road.''

Patterson's arrest came less than a week after teammates Rasheed
Wallace and Stoudamire were cited for misdemeanor marijuana
possession in Washington state.

Stoudamire, who had 14 points in 16 minutes -- all in the second
half -- had been benched in three of Portland's previous five games.

''I've been doing what I need to do so when my number is called
I'll be ready,'' Stoudamire said. ''It felt good.''

Mutombo injured his right wrist Thursday night against the Los
Angeles Clippers and was a late scratch. Jason Collins filled in
for Mutombo, who has averaged 7.3 points and 7.1 rebounds this

The Blazers were led by Bonzi Wells, who scored 20 points.
Richard Jefferson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets.

Game notes
It was not known whether Mutombo would play Sunday night
against the Seattle SuperSonics. ''He'll have treatment tonight and
treatment tomorrow morning,'' coach Byron Scott said. ''It will
probably be the same situation -- we'll just have to wait and see.''
... Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks went and sat in the row of seats
behind the bench when his team went on its fourth-quarter run.
''That was a good lucky seat. I told the usher I was going to sit
in it and bring us some luck,'' Cheeks said.


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