Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/17

Game 1: Tuesday, December 17th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 26th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 26th
Game 4: Friday, March 28th

Knicks 76

(24-33, 8-19 away)

Nets 105

(38-21, 26-4 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    7:30 PM ET, February 26, 2003

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 21 19 20 1676
    NJ 25 24 26 30105

    Top Performers

    NY: L. Sprewell 13 Pts, 1 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    NJ: J. Kidd 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Little emotion displayed as Nets rip Knicks by 29

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Instead of concerning themselves with what Byron Scott said about Latrell Sprewell, the New York Knicks should have worried about the New Jersey Nets' defense.

    Jason Kidd scored 21 points and the Nets ended a season-high three-game losing streak by limiting Sprewell and Allan Houston to 19 points in embarrassing the Knicks 105-76 Wednesday night.

    "That was the best we've played in a while,'' said Scott, who seemed to have straightened things out with Sprewell in brief third-quarter talk. "To me, just watching the game, we played a lot like a team I saw earlier this year and the team I saw last year. We got after it on the defensive end and when we do that, the offense is pretty easy.''

    Richard Jefferson added 17 points and 10 rebounds, Kerry Kittles had 13 and the two turned in great defensive efforts against Sprewell and Houston as New Jersey handed New York its most lopsided loss of the season.

    "The most important thing was defense, the job Kerry and R.J. and the team did on Allen Houston and Sprewell,'' Nets forward Kenyon Martin said. "They did a terrific job. If we can take that defensive effort for the rest of the season and learn from it, we'll be all right.''

    The game between the Hudson River rivals lacked emotion, and a simmering tiff between Sprewell and Scott over some recent comments by Nets coach never escalated. In fact, they cleared the air with 8:51 left in the third quarter.

    "He said don't believe everything you hear,'' Sprewell said. "I don't. That's why I didn't make that much of it. We left it at that.''

    Sprewell gave the Nets some anxious moments, hitting two early jumpers. But he never got untracked and finished with a team-high 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting.

    Houston, who had 28 in a win over the Rockets on Tuesday, was never a factor, scoring six points -- 16.1 less than his average.

    "Tonight was just a bad night for me personally,'' said Houston, who was 3-for-11 from the field. "I made a lot of mistakes defensively as well as offensively shooting the ball. That's what's frustrating to me.''

    The 19 combined points by Sprewell and Houston was their second lowest effort of the season. They had 18 (Houston 15, Sprewell 3) against Toronto on Jan. 1.

    The game was competitive until the final 90 seconds of the first half.

    A baseline jumper by Michael Doleac pulled the Knicks to 42-40 with 1:50 left in the half. New York didn't score again until Houston hit his final basket of the game on a 15-footer with 8:57 left in the third.

    By that time, the Nets had scored 13 straight points -- the final seven of the first half and first six of the second.

    Kittles had five of his 13 in the span and Jason Collins added four. Kidd added a layup and made a nice no-look pass to set up a dunk by Kenyon Martin, who spent most of the second quarter in the Nets' locker room with an upset stomach.

    "Right now, a victory is a victory,'' Jefferson said. "It's not about an area rivalry.''

    New Jersey led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, and the final score represented the largest margin of the game.

    "We didn't have anyone going for us,'' Sprewell said. "Guys were flat.''

    Game notes

    Knicks rookie Frank Williams, who had scored eight points in 64 minutes spread over eight games, hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter and finished with a career-high 11. Right after he hit his third 3-pointer, Knicks coach Don Chaney subbed him out of the game. ... New Jersey's other three-game losing streak was on a West Coast swing in January. ... Martin returned to the Nets lineup after missing Tuesday night's loss to Cleveland because of a family problem. ... New Jersey shot 56.4 for the game, outrebounded New York 48-32 and held a 60-24 advantage in the paint. ... The Nets improved to 8-1 against teams that beat them in their previous meeting. ... Houston had reached double figures in 17 straight games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 105
    FGM-FGA 29-78 (.372) 44-78 (.564)
    3PM-3PA 5-20 (.250) 2-3 (.667)
    FTM-FTA 13-14 (.929) 15-20 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-32 13-48
    Assists 21 23
    Turnovers 16 14
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 3 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    New Jersey
    Latrell Sprewell Sprewell
    Points: 13
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 21
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0