CLEVELAND (AP) -- New Jersey's interim coach has a permanent NBA
Not bad for a kid who couldn't even make his high school
Frank, a fresh-faced 33-year-old who doesn't look much older
than some ballboys, tied the league mark for the best start as a
coach shared by Kurt Rambis (Los Angeles Lakers, 1998-99) and Buddy
Jeannette (Baltimore Bullets, 1947-48).
In less than three weeks on the job, Frank has been the perfect
coach for the Nets -- literally -- and shares a record the game's
icons would envy.
"Naismith, Wooden, all of them would be proud of him," Nets
All-Star guard Jason Kidd said. "He doesn't like the attention,
but the team is happy for him."
Kittles scored all his points in the second half for the Nets,
who hate to the see the All-Star break arrive.
In addition to Frank remaining unbeaten since getting the job
when Byron Scott was fired on Jan. 26, New Jersey (31-20) set or
tied several records.
The Nets became just the second team in league history to win 10
straight games by more than 10 points, tying a mark set by the
1946-47 Washington Capitals coached by Red Auerbach.
New Jersey also tied a team mark with its fifth straight road
win, and the Nets' 10-game winning streak is their second-longest
ever. New Jersey won 11 in a row in 1982-83.
Underscoring their turnaround under Frank, the Nets became just
the second team to follow a five-game losing streak by winning 10
in a row. The Denver Nuggets did that in 1977-78.
But the postgame focus was on Frank, who wasn't good enough to
make his high school team in Teaneck, N.J., but is the talk of the
"He's a leader," Kittles said. "Give him credit, he's pushing
the right buttons. He comes up with a good game plan and we all
feel comfortable going in."
The self-deprecating Frank said the Nets are responsible for his
"The players deserve all the credit," he said.
Kidd added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Kenyon Martin, who
will also play for the Eastern Conference in this Sunday's game in
Los Angeles, had 21 points.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds
to pace the Cavs, who hung with the Nets for nearly three quarters
before Kittles and Kidd took them apart.
Rookie LeBron James had just nine points -- his lowest output in
29 games -- and shot only 2-of-13 in 29 minutes.
James looked and played tired. Cavs coach Paul Silas wants him
to rest during the All-Star break, but that will be tough for him
to do this weekend in Los Angeles, where he will be one of the main
"I'm going to get some (rest)," James said. "It's been a long
season. It's been about as long as three of my high school
Earlier this week, James said he was still thinking about
participating in the slam dunk contest. Now, he says he won't.
"I'm out! I'm out! I'm out!" he said. "No more questions
about the dunk contest."
Kittles missed his only field goal attempt in the first half,
but scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the third quarter when
the Nets outscored Cleveland 37-24.
Kittles drained a 3-pointer to kick off an 18-4 run that Richard
Jefferson capped with a two-handed stuff as the Nets opened a 77-64
lead after three quarters.
Kittles stayed hot, hitting a 3-pointer to begin the fourth.
Martin followed with another 3 and the Nets eventually built a
23-point lead before Frank emptied his bench.
"They're rolling," Boozer said. "They showed tonight why
they're better than us right now."
The Nets didn't score for the first 4:48 of the second quarter
as the Cavs opened a 12-point lead. However, Kidd scored 10 points
-- capped by a 3-pointer -- as New Jersey went on a 16-2 tear to take
a 32-30 lead with 4:01 remaining in the half.
Ilgauskas, who had 10 rebounds in the opening half, tipped in a
miss in the final minute as Cleveland rallied to tie it 40-all at
Frank, the youngest coach in pro sports, was called for his
second technical as a head coach in the second quarter. He is
signed through this season, with the club holding an option for
2005-06. ... James wore an elastic sleeve on his left calf after
straining it in Monday's win over Boston. "It was fine," James
said. ... The Cavs are 20-33 entering the All-Star break -- their
best record at the season's unofficial midpoint since 1997-98. They
were 10-40 at the break last season. ... Nets C Jason Collins
missed his third straight game with a sprained left big toe.
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