Moments after Kidd missed two free throws that could have sealed a Nets' win, Rogers protected the lead by stealing an inbounds pass with 8.1 seconds to play in a 105-104 victory over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
"Who would have predicted that Jason would miss both free
throws?'' coach Byron Scott said after the Nets won their sixth straight at home and 11th in 12 games. "Both shots went in and out. But then Rodney came in and did a great job and got a great steal.''
Trailing 103-101 after Kidd -- the NBA's seventh-leading free throw shooter -- missed two free throws, Portland wanted Derek Anderson to work a handoff with Arvydas Sabonis. It was a play they had used to force an overtime against the Lakers earlier this year in Los Angeles.
On paper, Anderson passes to Sabonis, gets the ball back and drives to the basket.
However, Rogers cut inside of Sabonis' right arm this time and stole the pass.
"He (Anderson) was leaning in, so he didn't throw it as hard as he wanted to,'' Rogers said.
Said Anderson: "I didn't lead him good and he didn't hold off good. You just try to do it better next time. Nine times out of 10 that play works.''
Rogers almost gave Portland another shot when he threw the ball down the floor trying to hit Lucious Harris for a fastbreak. The pass was a little too far, but Harris ran it down, was fouled and made both free throws.
That made Damon Stoudamire's three-quarter length, 3-pointer at the buzzer meaningless.
The Nets had five players in double figures in beating Portland
for the second time this season.
Kidd finished led the way with 27 points and 12 assists. Richard
Jefferson added 22 points and career-highs of 15 rebounds and seven
assists. Harris finished with 21.
Ruben Patterson came off the bench to score a season-high 26 points for Portland, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Trail Blazers also had won three in a row on the road.
"It's a disappointing loss,'' Patterson said. "We played real well coming off back to backs. We missed free throws, didn't hit any clutch shots, but we played a heck of a game.
Wallace had a first half that he would like to forget with two
points on 1-for-1 shooting, three personal fouls and a technical.
Until his basket midway through the second quarter, he had more
technicals than points.
New Jersey took a big lead midway through the second quarter
with a 17-5 spurt that gave it a 51-38 lead. Rogers had seven
points in the run in which the Nets got their transition game
going. Harris added six.
Jason Collins, who has taken over as the starting center
job with Dikembe Mutombo sidelined following wrist surgery, has two
points in the last two games for the Nets. ... Martin shot 4-for-14
but did a good defensive job on Wallace. ... Pippen and Dale Davis
also got technicals for Portland. Collins got one for the Nets. ...
Pippen had two steals and now has 2,205, two shy of Clyde Drexler
for fourth place all-time in the NBA.