Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/20

Game 1: Tuesday, January 20th
Nets93Final
Mavericks106
Game 2: Sunday, March 21st
Mavericks101Final
Nets98

Mavericks 101

 

Nets 98

(41-28, 24-11 home)

1:30 PM ET, March 21, 2004

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 18 26 26 31101
NJ 25 20 29 2498

Top Performers

Dallas: S. Nash 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 16 Ast, 2 Stl

New Jersey: R. Rogers 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

Block, steal seal close win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- With Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin out, the New Jersey Nets nearly did something they never do with them playing -- beat the Dallas Mavericks.

Steve Nash had 15 points and a season-high 16 assists and the Mavericks came up with two big defensive plays in the final 18.8 seconds to beat the undermanned Nets 101-98 Sunday.

"We've had a bad habit of playing poorly against teams that have a lot of guys out," Nash said after coming within one of tying his career high for assists. "The first half today, we didn't come to play. We weren't aggressive at either end and it nearly cost us."

The high-scoring Mavericks didn't nail down their eighth straight win against New Jersey until they tightened their defense, which isn't their strength.

Dirk Nowitzki blocked a shot underneath the basket by Nets center Jason Collins, seconds after hitting a fadeaway jumper that gave the Mavericks a 99-98 lead with 26.8 seconds left.

Nash, who had a big turnover in the final minute to keep the Nets' upset hopes alive, made the second defensive play with 5.4 seconds to go.

Guarding Lucious Harris in front of the Mavericks' bench with Dallas still up a point, Nash tipped the inbounds pass and Marquis Daniels picked it off. Daniels threw the ball downcourt and Nash tracked it down and was fouled with one-tenth of a second to go.

He made both free throws to send the Nets to their third straight loss, their longest losing skid since Lawrence Frank replaced Byron Scott as the coach of the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions.

Harris said no one was open on the play and he had to make a pass because New Jersey had no more time outs.

"It's important to make plays when they count," Nash said. "That's when the game is the most fun."

Nowitzki finished with 21 points and Antawn Jamison had 20 for the Mavericks, who hit 14 of 20 shots in the final quarter.

"We knew we had a tough game on us," Nowitzki said. "Usually when the top two guys are out, usually the other guys pick it up, and that's what they did."

Richard Jefferson had 22 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for New Jersey, which putty on a gutty effort. Harris scored a season-high 21 points and Rodney Rogers had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

"I thought our guys fought their tails off," Frank said. "They gave a heck of an effort. It wasn't the outcome we would have like but I thought we had a great chance to win it when you play like that."

The next few weeks might be tough on the Nets. Martin, who is tendinitis in his left knee, might be back in about a week.

Kidd is sidelined with a bruised left knee and he might require surgery. He is not expected back soon.

Antoine Walker of Dallas did not play the final 17-plus minutes as Mavericks coach Don Nelson elected to go with a lineup of Nash, Josh Howard, Shawn Bradley, Jamison and Daniels.

Dallas, which trailed by 12 points midway through the third quarter, got within four entering the fourth and then finally found its shooting touch, building a 91-86 lead with 5:03 to play.

The Nets got within a point twice, and they finally took the lead on a layup by Collins with 51.9 seconds to play and a fast break by Rogers after Nash lost the ball with 33.7 to go.

Nowitzki hit his fadeaway to give Dallas the lead. After Nowitzki blocked Collins' shot, he threw an inbounds pass that Rogers intercepted.

The Nets retained the ball after Howard tipped a pass out of bounds with 10.4 seconds to go. Dallas had a foul to give and used it with 5.4 seconds, setting up Nash's big play.

Game notes


Finley, whose eight points against Boston on Friday night was his first non double-digit game since Jan. 11, had nine in the first quarter against New Jersey and finished with 15. ... With the NCAA Regional at East Rutherford this week, the Nets will play their next three games on the road. ... Harris' nine baskets gave him 2006 in his NBA career. ... Both teams shot better than 50 percent -- New Jersey (51.4), Dallas (50.6).

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
NJ
Points 101 98
FGM-FGA 43-85 (.506) 38-74 (.514)
3PM-3PA 5-10 (.500) 5-14 (.357)
FTM-FTA 10-16 (.625) 17-19 (.895)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-33 5-36
Assists 29 29
Turnovers 14 19
Steals 10 8
Blocks 5 1
Fast Break Points 9 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 20 (0/1)

Top Performers

Dallas
New Jersey
Steve Nash Nash
Points: 15
Reb: 5
Ast: 16
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Rodney Rogers Rogers
Points: 20
Reb: 10
Ast: 7
Stl: 3
Blk: 0