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Nets' Kidd stars in emotional, physical game

2/21/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- With teammate Kenyon Martin
imploring him to take over in the second half, Jason Kidd couldn't
be stopped -- not even by one of the NBA's best defensive players.

Kidd scored 18 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter while
being defended by Ron Artest and the New Jersey Nets rallied for a
98-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.

"He was in attack mode,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said of Kidd
after the Nets rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit in yet
another chippy game between the two young, emotional Eastern
Conference foes.

"The only thing I asked the other guys to do was run with
him,'' Scott added. "Get out on the break with him. Give him some
options.''

Kidd had five points, seven assists and four rebounds in a so-so
first half that saw Indiana take a 55-45 lead.

Martin, who had 15 points in the half, knew that wasn't the way
the Nets were going to win, so he went up to Kidd in the locker at
halftime.

"I told him at halftime that, 'I need you in the second
half,''' Martin recalled.

Kidd responded. He played all 24 minutes, hit 8-for-11 from the
field, 9-for-10 from the foul line and added five of his 12 assists and five of his nine rebounds.

"Any time a teammate comes up to you and asks something like
that, you have to respond,'' Kidd said. "And I did.''

Tempers flared repeatedly and the officiating crew called six
technicals and one flagrant foul. Artest, the Pacers' bad boy, got
the flagrant and a technical, and generally seemed a little out of
control.

Martin finished with 19 points for the Nets, who limited Indiana
to 12-for-39 shooting (31 percent) in the second half.

"We understand what the problem is. The problem is Jason
Kidd,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "Just because you know
what the problem is doesn't mean you can solve it. We'll keep
trying to figure out how to get him under control.''

Al Harrington came off the bench and had 22 points and 11
rebounds to lead the Pacers, who dropped their season-high third
straight game. Jermaine O'Neal and Brad Miller had 18 apiece and
Reggie Miller added 14.

"I understand that there's going to be some adversity in a
season, you're never going to have a smooth-going season where you
rise above and play good basketball for 82 games,'' Thomas said.

Indiana had a chance to tie it in the final minute after Artest
hit a 3-pointer and Reggie Miller made two free throws to close the
Nets' lead to 94-91.

After Richard Jefferson missed a shot for New Jersey, the Pacers
came down the floor and Reggie Miller ran around the 3-pointer
perimeter looking for a pass to attempt a tying shot, much like he
did in Game 5 of the Pacers-Nets first round playoff series last season.

Last spring, Miller banked in a phenomenal half-court shot to
tie the deciding game, which the Nets won in double overtime.

This time, New Jersey prevented Miller from touching the ball
and O'Neal ended up missing a shot down low.

Kidd then added two free throws with 17.7 seconds to play and
Harrington turned the ball over the Pacers' next possession.

The Nets never trailed in the fourth quarter after Kidd scored
eight points in a 25-9 spurt that gave New Jersey a 70-69 lead
entering the final period.

Every time the Pacers got close, Kidd found a way around Artest
for a basket or he was fouled and that gave New Jersey its second
straight win over Indiana this season.

"A couple of times Kidd was blowing right by me, not because
he's faster than me but because I haven't been guarding point
guards all year,'' Artest said. "It was my first game guarding a
point guard all year, but I can guard him."

When the teams meet in the first week of the season, there were
nine technical fouls, four flagrants and three ejections in the
Nets' 102-91 win.

Artest, arguably the NBA's best defensive player, got the
flagrant foul after grabbing a rebound and raising his elbow to the
head of Nets center Aaron Williams. Artest added a fourth-quarter
technical for throwing a ball into the back of referee Bennie
Adams.

Artest, who said the incident with Adams was an accident, now
has five flagrant foul-related points. He will be suspended for a
game if he reaches six.

Kidd, Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley, Martin and Harrington
got the other technicals.

Game notes
The Nets honored their 1975-76 ABA championship team by
wearing jerseys from that era ... The game was the 200th between
the two former ABA members ... Nets president Rod Thorn said the
team entertained some trade talks on Thursday but there was
"nothing substantive at all.'' ... The Pacers activated Jonathan
Bender from the injured list before the game and placed G Fred
Jones on the list.