Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/23

Game 1: Tuesday, November 23rd
Nets88Final
Nuggets90
Game 2: Sunday, February 13th
Nuggets79Final
Nets94

Nets 88

(2-8, 1-2 away)

Nuggets 90

(6-5, 6-2 home)

    Coverage: ALT

    7:00 PM ET, November 23, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 17 21 25 2588
    DEN 23 14 24 2990

    Top Performers

    New Jersey: R. Jefferson 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Denver: K. Martin 22 Pts, 12 Reb, 6 Ast

    Boykins seals Denver's 4th straight victory

    DENVER (AP) -- Kenyon Martin ran over and slapped hands with New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank before tipoff, then tried to charge through a double team on the game's first possession.

    Think Martin wasn't excited about facing his former team?

    Martin had 22 points and 12 rebounds in his first game against New Jersey, and Earl Boykins hit runner with 21 seconds left to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 90-88 victory Tuesday night over the Nets for their fourth straight win.

    "I had a good time out there," said Martin, who was 10-for-19 from the field and added six assists. "Obviously, it was different not being on that team, but I have been here long enough that it is not that big of a deal."

    Martin spent his first four seasons in New Jersey, helping the Nets reach the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. But with new owners wanting to cut payroll instead of adding to it, the All-Star forward ended up in Denver in a sign-and-trade deal that has sent the two teams in different directions.

    Denver, with the 1-2 punch of Martin and Carmelo Anthony, has gone over .500 for the first time since a 1-4 start.

    New Jersey, with Martin and Kerry Kittles gone and Jason Kidd still out with a sore knee, has its first six-game losing streak since April 2001.

    "Whatever was between him and management doesn't affect us here," said Richard Jefferson, one of Martin's closest friends on the Nets. "I wish him the best, and I think he will be an All-Star this year and their team will get better."

    New Jersey still had a chance despite Martin's big night.

    With the Nets trailing 88-86, Jefferson blocked Carmelo Anthony's putback attempt, then hit one of two free throws with 37 seconds left. With New Jersey playing good defense at the other end, Boykins kept dribbling until he broke free for an 8-foot bank shot that put the Nuggets up 90-87.

    New Jersey worked the ball around at the other end to get Eric Williams an open 3-pointer, but his shot came up short. Williams got the rebound and was fouled, but New Jersey couldn't get the ball back after he hit one of two free throws.

    "We weren't able to finish the job, but there were some very positive signs," Frank said. "Hopefully, we can build on that. We are still very much trying to find out about each other, and in tough times you find out a lot."

    Not getting much from Alonzo Mourning certainly didn't help.

    New Jersey's second-leading scorer seemed out of sorts in his 10th game since returning from kidney transplant surgery and first in Denver in nearly five years. He shot airballs in the first and third quarters, finishing with two points on 1-of-8 shooting in 13 minutes.

    "He felt OK, he just was having a hard time getting his legs," Frank said.

    Anthony wasn't much better, managing just nine points on 4-of-15 shooting after averaging 25 points and shooting 50 percent the previous six games.

    Martin did his best to make up for Melo's off-night.

    After burning off his early nervous energy, K-Mart kicked out of double teams for a pair of his six assists and hitting consecutive jumpers. Martin later snatched a rebound and kicked out quickly to Miller, who hit Anthony for an alley-oop, and pulled up on the break for a jumper to end a 14-0 run.

    "We'll keep him," joked Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik.

    Martin's former team clearly could have used him in the early going.

    New Jersey missed nine straight shots midway through the first quarter, going more than six minutes without a point, and finished 8-of-21. The Nets weren't much better defensively, allowing the Nuggets to shoot 10-of-19 by leaving them open on the perimeter and giving them free runs down the lane.

    But after its early troubles, New Jersey tightened up on both ends.

    The Nets started going to the basket more, opening with a 14-3 run, and gave Denver trouble defensively by alternating between man and zone, holding the Nuggets to one field goal in the first six minutes.

    "I thought our guys gave a good effort," Frank said. "Especially on the road, you want to put yourselves in a position to win a game down the stretch, and we put ourselves in that position."

    Game notes


    The start of the second half was delayed about 10 minutes while arena officials set up shot clocks on the floor at New Jersey's end. The shot clock above the basket was knocked out when Anthony hit it with a nearly full-court shot at the end of the second quarter. ... Boykins has hit 17 straight free throws after going 2-for-2 against the Nets.

    ^------=

    On the Net:

    Denver Nuggets: http://www.nba.com/nuggets

    New Jersey Nets: http://www.nba.com/nets

    National Basketball Association: http://www.nba.com

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    NJ
    DEN
    Points 88 90
    FGM-FGA 35-78 (.449) 38-76 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 5-7 (.714) 4-9 (.444)
    FTM-FTA 13-18 (.722) 10-13 (.769)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-39 4-38
    Assists 25 26
    Turnovers 14 14
    Steals 9 4
    Blocks 6 12
    Fast Break Points 5 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Denver
    Richard Jefferson Jefferson
    Points: 26
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 22
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0