Regular Season Series (Game 3 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 95

(32-40, 10-25 away)

Nets 101

(43-28, 29-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 26, 2003

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 24 20 30 2195
    NJ 23 29 22 27101

    Top Performers

    New York: L. Sprewell 24 Pts, 4 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

    New Jersey: K. Martin 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Kittles hits go-ahead 3-pointer to spark Nets

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- For a change, the New Jersey Nets won a close home game in the fourth quarter.

     Kerry Kittles

    Kerry Kittles' 3-pointer with 5:43 to go ignited a 14-2 spurt that carried the Nets to a 101-95 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

    "It was nice to pull it out and get one of those gut wins," said Kittles, who was 10-for-14 from the field. "We've been trying to do that but we've been coming up short. We were more organized down the stretch and we played really good defense."

    In their last three close games at home, the Nets played poorly down the stretch in losses to Utah, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

    "I would say 75 percent of the season we would have that spurt," said Richard Jefferson, who added 18 points. ``Then 10 games you don't have that spurt, something goes wrong. All of a sudden, you're struggling in the fourth quarter."

    The Knicks were the ones who struggled down the stretch. They made only two baskets after Kittles gave New Jersey an 87-85 lead, and they saw Latrell Sprewell turn the ball over twice and Allan Houston once.

    "Late in the game, with six minutes to go, that's when you have to play, especially on the road," Houston said. "You have to outplay the other team and we didn't."

    Kenyon Martin had 24 points, Kittles 23 and Jason Kidd added 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Nets remained a half-game ahead of Philadelphia in the race for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Sixers beat Indiana 91-85.

    Sprewell had 24 points and nine assists, while Houston, who tweaked his right hamstring in the first quarter, added 19 points, but only nine in the final 36 minutes.

    "We didn't execute down the stretch as well as we have been doing late in games," said Sprewell, who also threw up a late airball as New York lost its fifth straight game in New Jersey.

    After Kittles' hit his third 3-pointer in as many attempts, Jefferson stretched the lead to 89-85 with a reverse layup on a fast break led by Kidd. Martin then stole the ball from Sprewell, dribbled downcourt and scored on a layup.

    Clarence Weatherspoon's two free throws got New York within 91-87, but Martin scored on a floater and hit two free throws for a 95-87 lead.

    "He pretty much dominated the game," Nets coach Byron Scott said of Martin, who also had 10 rebounds and five assists. "He hit every big shot, he got rebounds and eventually went to the hoop. Even though he was not guarding Latrell Sprewell or Allan Houston, he was all over the place."

    Kidd iced the game by stealing the ball from Houston and converting a wild left-handed shot as Charlie Ward wrapped his arms around him to try to prevent a fast-break layup.

    After being down by 10 midway through the third quarter, Sprewell got the Knicks back in the game by scoring 14 points in the quarter. He had seven in a 12-0 run that helped New York enter the final period tied at 74.

    The Nets had closed the first half with a 24-7 run to take a 52-44 halftime lead. Kittles scored seven straight points late in the spurt, while Kidd and Rodney Rogers added five apiece.

    Game notes
    Knicks coach Don Chaney has called Rudy Tomjanovich several times since the man who replaced him as the Houston Rockets coach in 1992 was diagnosed with bladder cancer. "I worked with him shoulder to shoulder," Chaney said. "He's a great guy. The game would miss him. He's done a great job as a coach and a player but away from all that, he's a great person." ... Nets coach Byron Scott and forward Kenyon Martin got hit with technicals 1:22 apart in the first quarter. Knicks forward Kurt Thomas got one sitting on the bench late in the third quarter. ... The teams will play again in New York on Friday. ... Nets C Dikembe Mutombo is expected back in the lineup on Saturday against Golden State after being sidelined since November with a wrist injury.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 101
    FGM-FGA 37-86 (.430) 37-72 (.514)
    3PM-3PA 7-24 (.292) 4-8 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 14-16 (.875) 23-29 (.793)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-36 7-40
    Assists 22 24
    Turnovers 14 16
    Steals 7 8
    Blocks 5 2
    Fast Break Points 1 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 19 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    New Jersey
    Latrell Sprewell Sprewell
    Points: 24
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 24
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1