"I was just trying to get back into the rhythm of things,"
Kidd said. "I hope my teammates weren't expecting a lot from me
Kidd, whose playing status was a question mark until the
starting lineups were introduced, played 39 minutes. Some rust was
evident as he committed six turnovers.
While Kidd didn't have a vintage performance, the Nets were
happy to have their All-Star point guard back.
"I thought he looked like himself," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "He did a tremendous job and it didn't look like he was
gasping for air. It was a game-time decision when there was wasn't
much swelling [in the knee]."
The Nets seemed to have the game under control when they took a
93-81 lead with 4:15 remaining after five straight points by Jason
But the Nuggets came back with 13-3 run to cut their deficit to
two with 1:06 left. Nene led the way with seven points. After
Marcus Camby blocked Kerry Kittles' shot, Earl Boykins missed a
jumper that would have tied it.
Martin hit a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left for a
four-point lead, and Anthony missed a 3-pointer before Camby missed
a tip. Kidd missed two free throws with 16 seconds remaining, but
all the Nuggets could manage after that was a 3-pointer by Lenard
as time expired.
"The only thing frustrating is when we play hard to the end and
we still come up short," Anthony said. "That's the only thing we
should be frustrated about. As far as playing hard, I don't think
anybody is hanging their heads."
Miller scored 14 points in the first quarter to help Denver take
a 27-25 lead.
Martin helped spark the Nets in the second quarter as New Jersey
built a 52-41 lead at the half.
Martin picked up a technical foul when he continued to argue an
earlier out-of-bounds call. The Nets stole the ball on the next
possession and Martin, taking a behind-the-back pass from Kidd,
slammed home a highlight-reel dunk that gave the Nets a 44-37 lead.
Anthony scored the first four points of the third quarter to set
the tone for the half. The Nets never relinquished the lead but the
Nuggets kept pecking away, narrowing the New Jersey lead to 70-66
on a 19-foot jumper by Anthony with 2:34 left.
New Jersey reeled off the next seven points with Brian
Scalabrine hitting a 3-pointer to cap the run.
New Jersey has won five straight and six of last seven
meetings with Denver. ... The game was the second of a three-game
road trip for the Nuggets that started Tuesday with their 30-point
rout of the Washington Wizards. The trip concludes Friday at
Milwaukee. ... Anthony and Jefferson were called for double
technical fouls for a heated verbal exchange under the Nets'
basket. ... Kidd took a season-low eight field-goal attempts. ...
Frank improved his record to 17-4 as Nets head coach and has yet to
lose consecutive games.