Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Wednesday, November 6th
Game 2: Friday, December 27th
Game 3: Saturday, December 28th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 19th

Bucks 104

(33-35, 15-19 away)

Nets 85

(41-27, 27-7 home)

7:30 PM ET, March 19, 2003

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
MIL 24 30 19 31104
NJ 27 20 26 1285

Top Performers

Milwaukee: S. Cassell 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

New Jersey: K. Martin 28 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Bucks put together complete game, Nets lose ground

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- For one of the few times since acquiring Gary Payton, the Milwaukee Bucks combined scoring and defense.

Gary Payton

The Bucks used a lightning quick 15-2 run to open the fourth quarter and limited the New Jersey Nets to 12 points in the final 12 minutes in a 104-85 victory on Wednesday night.

"It's about time we started playing right,'' Payton said after the Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak. "We played a little bit of defensive zone that worked pretty good for us. We made good shots. We've got to keep this up. We've got to put three or four together like we played tonight.''

Rookie Marcus Haislip scored six of his 12 points in the game-deciding run that gave Milwaukee a half-game lead over Michael Jordan and the idle Washington Wizards in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

"Every game we play is critical for us,'' said Toni Kukoc, who ignited the game-winning spurt with a jumper. "If we were fighting for fourth or fifth, you can say: `OK, we're in the playoffs.' When you lose a game you can go down to the ninth or 10th spot. Every win is a great win for us.''

Payton had 23 points and Sam Cassell 22 for the Bucks, who were 11-for-19 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Michael Redd added 18 points and Desmond Mason had 17.

Kenyon Martin had 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who ran out of gas in the fourth quarter while playing their second game in as many nights against a team that hadn't played since Sunday.

"Same old story, 27 turnovers,'' coach Byron Scott said after the Nets' season high for giveaways. "When we play like that and we are just throwing the ball all over the place, it's difficult to beat any team in this league, especially a good team.''

Jason Kidd added 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds for the Nets, who shot just 4-for-20 in their third straight dismal fourth quarter. They had nine points in a win over Boston on Tuesday and missed their final 12 shots in losing to Philadelphia on Sunday.

"Tonight we just couldn't get the ball to go in for us and we couldn't get a stop in the fourth quarter,'' Kidd said. "It was 73-73 and it could have gone either way, unfortunately, it went Milwaukee's way.''

Milwaukee, which had yielded an average of 105.7 points in the 13 games since Payton arrived, won the game in the opening 4:41 of the fourth quarter.

Kukoc, who gave the Bucks a presence inside, gave Milwaukee the lead for good at 75-73 with a jumper from near the top of the key. Haislip hit a jumper after Lucious Harris missed on the other end, and Redd scored on a breakaway layup after Richard Jefferson was blocked underneath.

Jefferson scored on a follow to cut the Bucks' lead to 79-75 with 9:02 left, but Haislip hit two free throws and a dunk before Cassell nailed a 3-pointer for an 86-75 lead. Tim Thomas' two free throws pushed the lead to 88-75.

New Jersey never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way in losing for the fourth time in its last six home games. The Nets won 25 of their first 28 at home.

There were 16 lead changes and 13 times in the first three quarters, which ended tied at 73. Payton hit a drive with 3.5 seconds to go to put the Bucks up 73-71, but Kidd beat everyone downcourt for a layup that tied the game.

Game notes

Bucks center Ervin Johnson got a technical foul for what seemed to be a phantom elbow. ...Kidd landed at the feet of New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey after being knocked down on a 3-point attempt. ...New Jersey held a 51-37 edge in rebounding. ...Milwaukee scored 32 points off the Nets' turnovers. Milwaukee only had 10 turnovers.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 104 85
FGM-FGA 39-82 (.476) 30-76 (.395)
3PM-3PA 6-21 (.286) 3-7 (.429)
FTM-FTA 20-26 (.769) 22-27 (.815)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-37 17-51
Assists 26 17
Turnovers 10 27
Steals 16 7
Blocks 5 6
Fast Break Points 5 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (2/0) 24 (1/0)

Top Performers

New Jersey
Sam Cassell Cassell
Points: 22
Reb: 5
Ast: 5
Stl: 4
Blk: 1
Kenyon Martin Martin
Points: 28
Reb: 14
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 1