Bucks rally from 10-point deficit


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- In some ways, both the Milwaukee
Bucks and New Jersey Nets won Tuesday night.

While the Bucks beat New Jersey 103-98 to move closer to
home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs, the Nets
were just as happy knowing All Stars Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin
should be ready for the postseason after being sidelined for weeks.

"We weren't so much focused in on Milwaukee," Nets forward
Richard Jefferson said. "We were more focused on J-Kidd and Kenyon
and playing the right way. We made some mistakes and give all the
credit to Milwaukee but we were more worried about ourselves

Unlike the Nets, who have wrapped up the second seed in the
Eastern Conference, the Bucks are battling Miami and New Orleans
for the fourth slot.

They increased their lead over fifth-place Miami to 1{ games by
rallying from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and spoiling the
return of Kidd and Martin.

"This was a huge win for us," said Michael Redd, who combined
with Desmond Mason to lead a late 10-0 spurt. "This is a team that
no one expected to do anything at the beginning of the season and
for us to get 40 wins and possible home-court advantage will blow a
lot of people's minds."

Damon Jones had 23 points and 11 assists, Redd added 21 points
and Mason 18 in the Bucks' third straight win. Keith Van Horn had
13, including two crucial free throws with 17 seconds to play to
push the lead to five points.

Redd felt Martin and Kidd looked a little rusty, combining for
7-for-19 from the field.

"It's our job to take advantage of that," Redd said. "That's
life in the NBA. If it was us, another team would take advantage of

Rodney Rogers had a season-high 26 points and Jefferson 25 for
the Nets.

Kidd and Martin, both hampered by bothersome left knees, had
four points apiece in the fourth quarter to help the Nets stay
ahead. But the Bucks took the game away in the final 2{ minutes,
outscoring New Jersey 12-2.

Down 96-91, Redd hit a jumper and Mason followed with another
after a miss by Jefferson.

A turnover and a foul by little-used Brandon Armstrong, who got
some unexpected minutes in crunch time, sent Mason to the
free-throw line for two go-ahead shots and a 97-96 lead with 58.1
seconds to play.

Redd added a layup and jumper, and after Jefferson scored on a
slam and Van Horn hit his free throws, Kidd missed a 3-pointer to
end the Nets' hopes.

"A lot of it was to test the left leg," Kidd said after
finishing with nine points on 4-for-11 shooting in 21 minutes.
"All my shots came from left to right and the two layups were off
my left leg. I was very happy with the response. I feel very
confident that we're going in the right direction."

Kidd also had five assists and two rebounds.

Martin had six points on 3-for-8 shooting and two rebounds in
the same amount of playing time.

Kidd and Martin got a standing ovation from some in the crowd of
13,967 at the Continental Airlines Arena when they entered the game
with 2:39 left in the first quarter.

Kidd showed flashes of brilliance in his eight minutes with five
points and three assists. He fed Martin for an alley-oop dunk, got
a layup on a give-and-go and would have had another spectacular
alley-oop pass to Martin if he hadn't blown the dunk.

Both came back with 51.6 seconds left in the third quarter and
helped build the Nets' lead to 10 points early in the fourth

Game notes
Nets C Jason Collins was called for a flagrant foul in the
first quarter for hitting Van Horn across the face on a layup
attempt. ... Jefferson got a few laughs in the first half when he
shook off a fan telling him to pass the ball more. ... Best fan
line: "Hey Keith! Where you playing next year?" It was directed
at Van Horn, who has played with the Nets, 76ers, Knicks and Bucks
in the past two seasons.