Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/5

Game 1: Friday, December 5th
Game 2: Saturday, December 20th
Game 3: Thursday, January 15th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 6th

Bucks 103

(40-38, 14-26 away)

Nets 98

(45-32, 26-13 home)

    7:30 PM ET, April 6, 2004

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 22 26 24 31103
    NJ 27 30 23 1898

    Top Performers

    Mil: D. Jones 23 Pts, 3 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Stl

    NJ: R. Rogers 26 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    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 tonight."

    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 us."

    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 quarter.

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 98
    FGM-FGA 38-75 (.507) 40-81 (.494)
    3PM-3PA 6-16 (.375) 9-21 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 21-22 (.955) 9-13 (.692)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-37 11-34
    Assists 21 29
    Turnovers 12 11
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 5 7
    Fast Break Points 5 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/0) 20 (1/1)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Damon Jones Jones
    Points: 23
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Rodney Rogers Rogers
    Points: 26
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3