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Frank wins record 11th straight

2/21/2004

TORONTO (AP) -- Kerry Kittles is savoring New Jersey's
franchise-record winning streak more than any other Net.

Jason Kidd tied a season-high with 15 assists and Richard
Jefferson had 20 points to help the Nets set the record with their
12th straight victory, 91-72 over the Toronto Raptors on Friday
night.

"I'm enjoying this, I really am, because I know what it was
like when we were struggling," said Kittles, who is the most
senior Net with eight seasons played. "We've had adversity, even
this year, but more so in the past. I was on teams that were
outmanned many nights."

Kittles added 19 points for the Nets, whose previous longest
streak came Dec. 23, 1982, through Jan. 12, 1983.

Neither Kidd or new coach Lawrence Frank seemed excited about
the record.

"Any time you put a double-digit win streak together, that's
impressive, but we have a bigger picture in mind. We want to get
better," Kidd said.

Frank improved to 11-0. He set an NBA record for the best start
to a coaching career by winning his 10th consecutive game on
Wednesday.

"He's helped our entire team. We're focusing more on defense,"
said Jefferson, whose club held the opponent under 40 percent for
the 12th straight game. "He's holding people more accountable."

Donyell Marshall had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors,
who have lost four straight. Toronto is in danger of falling out of
the playoff race after losing Vince Carter and Jalen Rose to
injuries. Carter is expected to miss at least two weeks with a
sprained left ankle, and Rose is out for a month with four broken
bones in his left hand.

Lamond Murray, inserted into the starting lineup, played just
six minutes and didn't score. Jefferson went 3-for-3 from the field
when Murray guarded him. Murray said earlier in the day that he was
disappointed he didn't get traded.

"They should trade me," Murray said. "I've been here 10
years. I'm not a rookie, I'm not a second-year player."

Murray said he didn't get an explanation from Toronto coach
Kevin O'Neill on why he didn't play more.

"Come on, we don't talk," Murray said. "There's no
communication. It's just who I am, and he doesn't like who I am for
some reason. They should have let me go. They had a time to let me
go. I'm past frustrated now. I'm past trying to play it his way,
and play great defense."

Murray has two more years left on his contract.

New Jersey forward Kenyon Martin did not start because of a
sinus infection, but entered the game with 6:14 left in the first
quarter. He finished with six points and two rebounds in 24
minutes.

"Sweat was probably the best thing for it," Martin said.

Toronto never led.

Michael Curry's jumper cut New Jersey's lead to nine in the
fourth quarter, but the Nets responded with a 17-2 run as Aaron
Williams scored seven straight points and Jefferson and Kittles
made 3-pointers.

Kittles' 3-pointer gave New Jersey a 19-point lead with 4:33
left.

Kidd also had 15 assists on Dec. 12 at Orlando. His career-high
is 25.

Game notes
Frank worked under Toronto coach Kevin O'Neill as a
graduate assistant at Marquette. O'Neill paid for Frank's tuition
and apartment. "I've done that with every part-time coach that
I've ever had in college. I insisted they get their graduate
degree," O'Neill said. When O'Neill was hired by Toronto this past
summer, he asked permission to talk to Frank about an assistant
job. Nets president Rod Thorn declined. ... Carter was placed on
the injured list earlier in the day.