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Nets' Big Win Is Kidd's Play

April 23, 2002|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New Jersey Nets shook off the playoff jitters with a few things even more valuable in the postseason than a half-court offense: Jason Kidd, a great defense and a big dose of self-assurance.

Kidd had 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, Kenyon Martin shut down Jermaine O'Neal and Indiana's inside game and the Nets beat the Pacers, 95-79, Monday night to even their best-of-five first-round series at 1-1.

"Jason had that slight edge tonight and I think everyone on our team knew this was a must-win," Net Coach Byron Scott said.

"I don't know if guys wanted to admit it, but we knew we had to win this game and Jason came out with a different attitude. He was pressing at both ends of the court. Kenyon started it off and everyone pretty much followed."

Heading into Game 2, the pressure was on the Nets after losing the home-court advantage with an 89-83 loss Saturday.

However, the Nets had a lot of heroes in addition to Kidd. Playing with a sore right wrist, Martin was a big one.

Scott walked up to him early in the day and asked him if he wanted to guard O'Neal, who scored 30 points Saturday.

Martin gladly accepted.

"I just didn't let him catch the ball in his sweet spot, in the right blocks," Martin said. "If he got it, I contested every shot. The shots he was making in the first game, he wasn't making tonight."

Martin also added 19 points, and Keith Van Horn, who had 10 points in Game 1, scored 17. Backup center Aaron Williams added 15, including six in a game-breaking run early in the fourth quarter.

It was New Jersey's first playoff victory since beating the Knicks in overtime on May 4, 1994.

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