Kidd undeterred by bad traffic, bloody nose

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The early morning traffic jam got the best of Jason Kidd. A bloody nose and the NBA's hottest team didn't.

Kidd had 27 points, 12 assists and five steals to lead the New
Jersey Nets to a 100-92 victory over Detroit on Saturday night,
ending the Pistons' league-best six-game winning streak.

"It just been one of those days,'' Kidd said after the Nets won their ninth straight at home. "But we found a way to win.''

The victory was the Nets' 14th in 15 home games, but only their second in 17 games against the Pistons, who beat them earlier this season in Detroit.

"We wanted to take care of home and show them we're a good ballclub,'' Kenyon Martin said. "They're a tough team to play. They walk the ball up and down the court. It's hard to sustain the energy, but we managed to do it tonight.''

Richard Jefferson added 19 points, Lucious Harris had 16 points and the Nets forced 23 turnovers that led to 30 points.

"It just wasn't our game, we didn't dictate the tempo,'' said Ben Wallace, who led the Pistons with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Clifford Robinson added 19 points, Chauncey Billups 14 and Richard Hamilton 13 for the Pistons, who lost for the first time since Dec. 7.

"We had opportunities, we just didn't get over the hump,'' Robinson said. "You never want to get into a game where you are trading baskets with these guys.''

The game capped an interesting day for Kidd. The All-Star point guard missed the Nets' morning shootaround after being caught for 45 minutes in traffic on nearby Route 17. The bloody nose was courtesy of Robinson's flagrant foul in the second quarter.

"Unfortunately there was an accident and there was no way I could get to the shootaround,'' Kidd said. "I left early (for the game) to make sure there wasn't going to be any holiday traffic.

The rest of the night was typically good for Kidd. He had eight points, two assists and a steal in a 17-4 second-quarter spurt that gave New Jersey a 43-33 lead.

The bloody nose was late in that span. Kidd said he knows Robinson wasn't trying to hurt him.

"Cliff must be mad at me about the Raiders beating Buffalo,'' Kidd quipped. "He's got two flagrant fouls in the two games we've played, and both are on me.''

The Nets never lost the edge but had trouble putting the Pistons away in a chippy game that featured two flagrants, two technicals and a lot of pushing, shoving and glares between the Eastern Conference rivals.

Detroit, which trailed by as many as 15 points early in the second half, made its biggest push late in the third quarter when Corliss Williamson hit four free throws to cap an 8-0 run, getting the Pistons within 73-68 with 1:25 to play.

Of course, Kidd took over again. He hit a 3-pointer, fed Harris
for a layup and then brought the crowd to their feet by feeding
Jefferson for an alley-oop slam with 5.2 seconds left in the

"He makes big shots,'' Robinson said. "He has never been the
greatest shooter or scorer, but he makes big plays in timely parts
of the game.''

Game notes
Detroit backup center Zeljko Rebraca left the game in the
second quarter with an irregular heartbeat. He is expected to be
held overnight for evaluation. ... Pistons G Michael Curry got the
other flagrant foul for throwing Jefferson to the floor. Wallace
and Kenyon Martin got technical fouls in the third quarter. ...
Both teams shot well. The Nets hit 52 percent from the floor and
the Pistons 49. ... The Pistons' bench contributed 30 points, about
eight off their average.


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