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Kidd says snow affected team's focus early

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jason Kidd provided the cure to the New Jersey Nets' latest bout with the post All-Star game blues.

Kidd fed Jason Collins for a go-ahead three-point play with 1:50
to play, then hit a clinching 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left to
lead the Nets to an 84-79 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday
night.

"Watching the snow fall yesterday, I think we kind of fell into
a rut and came out a little flat,'' Kidd said, referring to the
blizzard that blanketed the region and forced the Nets to skip
practice on Monday. "I think in the fourth quarter, we realized we
had a basketball game to play. We got the job done but it wasn't
pretty.''

Ugly would have been a better word for the Nets, who were in
danger of losing for the fourth time in five games since the break
after squandering a 17-point, second-quarter lead and falling
behind by eight points early in the fourth.

Kidd took over down the stretch. He had nine of his 12 points,
five of his 10 assists and three of his eight rebounds in the
fourth.

"He pushed the tempo,'' said forward Kenyon Martin, who carried
the Nets for most of the game with 28 points and 10 rebounds,
including a big offensive grab that set up Kidd's clinching
3-pointer. "He didn't let them relax. He pushed the ball right at
them. It didn't matter if it was a make or miss, we pushed the ball
right at them.''

That was a great strategy with the Heat playing less than 24
hours after a 31-point loss in Detroit to the Pistons. Miami was
just 7-for-21 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3 of
their last 15.

"We had them and just didn't finish,'' said Caron Butler, who
led the Heat with 17 points. "Jason Kidd, one of the greatest
players in the NBA, hit a big-time shot. That's what he does.''

Kidd's game-clinching 3-pointer capped a final two minutes in
which neither team could hit much.

Martin had put New Jersey up 75-74 with a slam with 3:42 to
play. Travis Best then drove the lane and hit a left-handed layup
to give Miami its final lead, 76-75 with 3:15 to go.

The teams missed four shots over the next minute before Kerry
Kittles got the rebound of Brian Grant's miss. He threw an outlet
to Kidd, who found Collins ahead of the field for a layup. He
converted the free throw for a 78-76 lead.

After free throws by Richard Jefferson and Malik Allen kept the
teams within two points, Kidd got his clincher after Lucious Harris
missed the rim on a jumper with 10 seconds to go. Martin fed Kidd
and his 3-pointer beat the shot clock for an 82-77 lead.

"I was wide open,'' Kidd said. "Lu was under distress. He
threw up a shot I thought he would make. K-Mart came out with the
rebound. He threw it out to me and I knew the shot clock was down.
My intention was to just get it up and it went in.''

After a basket by Grant, Kidd added two more free throws to
close out the scoring.

While disappointed with the loss, Grant was glad to see the way
the Heat rebounded from the 93-62 loss to the Pistons in Detroit on
Monday night.

"We can't have any more Detroit Pistons games,'' Grant said.
"If we come out and compete, then at least we know we are
competing. If we don't compete and get blown out by 30, that's sign
of a dog team.''

Rasual Butler added 15 for the Heat, which used a 42-17 spurt to
wipe out a 43-26 second quarter deficit.

Martin was almost unstoppable in the first half in leading the
Nets to a 47-39 lead. He scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting, and
added five rebounds and four assists. His 13 first-quarter points
matched Miami's total.

Game notes
If Keith Van Horn was still with the Nets, coach Byron
Scott said he would not trade him for Latrell Sprewell of the
Knicks. "I don't like guys who are on their own time. Spree comes
to practice when he wants to, comes to games when he wants to. I
give him credit that he plays hard, but that's a bad example
(to be) setting for the rest of the team.'' ... The Nets are 3-0 vs.
Miami this season. Martin and Anthony Carter of the Heat were
called for flagrant fouls. ... New Jersey is 24-3 at home. ... Nets
coach Byron Scott is now 7-4 vs. Pat Riley, his former coach and
mentor.