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NBA FINALS / GAME 3 LAKERS 106, NEW JERSEY 103 | NET
NOTES

Kidd Frustrated, Not Fatigued

June 10, 2002|Elliott Teaford

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — More than one courtside observer noticed that point guard Jason Kidd looked drained at times during Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals. He pushed hard in both Net losses to the Lakers at Staples Center last week and came away with nothing to show for his efforts.

Coach Byron Scott said he believed Kidd's look of fatigue was, in fact, simply frustration at the Nets' inability to play as they did in earlier-round victories over the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers.

"Jason plays at 110% in every game," Scott said. "We need other guys to join him. That's the bottom line. If we can get four or five guys to play at the level that [Kidd] is so accustomed to playing, like we've been playing all season long, we'll be fine. I don't think he's tired at all. I think he's a little frustrated."

Kidd had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 43 minutes in Game 1. He added 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 39 minutes in Game 2.

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Kidd is widely acknowledged to be the driving force behind the Nets' first run to the Finals. After all, he was runner-up to San Antonio's Tim Duncan for most-valuable-player honors this season.

Kidd also is eligible to opt out of his contract after next season and become a free agent. Rod Thorn, New Jersey's general manager, said last week he believes Kidd will return to the Nets.

"To me, if we're a good team, I think he will [re-sign]," Thorn told the New York Post. "If he thinks we're going to be a good team and we'll play in these big games like we're playing this year, to me, I think he'll come back and sign with us. We've made a pretty good run here. He's been a big part of it, obviously. He's gone to another level as a player since he's been with us."

The Nets acquired Kidd last summer from the Phoenix Suns for point guard Stephon Marbury. A number of teams around the league could be high-stakes bidders for Kidd's services if he went on the free-agent market. The Lakers and Clippers could be two teams in search of help at the point.

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Only the Portland Trail Blazers, in 1977, and the Celtics, in 1969, have rallied to win a championship after trailing, 2-0, in the Finals. The Trail Blazers did it against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Celtics pulled it off against the Lakers. Only 12 teams in league history have rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win any best-of-seven series.

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The Nets had two leads in Game 1, 2-0 and 4-2. They led for roughly 60 seconds. They trailed from start to finish in Game 2.

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