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It's Not Easy to Talk Good Game Now

June 11, 2002|Elliott Teaford

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Reaching the NBA Finals has apparently become a consolation prize for the Nets.

They all but acknowledged Monday they have no hope of coming back from a three-games-to-none deficit to defeat the Lakers.

The Nets know no team in NBA history has rebounded from three games down to win. So, they moved to Plan B.

"We can't think about a 3-0 deficit," point guard Jason Kidd said. "We can only think about Game 4 [Wednesday].

"It would be nice to get one on the board. Our objective now is just to win one and take it from there."

Forward Kenyon Martin said the Nets aren't resigned to starting vacation on Thursday. He believes they will make matters difficult for the Lakers.

"We're not going to quit," he said. "We're going to try to force a Game 5. We're not going to lie down. We can't roll over and die right now, but it is kind of rough to think about right now."

Martin disagreed with the notion that the Nets' lack of success in the Finals has somehow overshadowed a franchise-record 52 victories during the regular season.

"A lot of people didn't expect us to be here," he said. "They counted us out before the season and during the season. If it did happen [a 4-0 series sweep by the Lakers], it wouldn't take away from anything we accomplished this season."

Responding to a similar question, Kidd said, "We want to play it out. We still have a lot to lose. We don't want to finish the season on a sour note, knowing we didn't give 110% up until the end."


Keith Van Horn had his best game of the Finals on Sunday, making six of 14 shots and scoring 14 points.

He made his first significant basket of the series, swishing a jump shot that brought the Nets to within, 102-100, with 34 seconds remaining.

Van Horn's solid performance happened one game after Net Coach Byron Scott benched him for the fourth quarter of a 23-point loss. Van Horn scored nine points on three-for-nine shooting in that game.

Asked why Van Horn wasn't on the floor at the end of Game 2, Scott said, "To me, mentally, he wasn't in the game. So, in the fourth quarter, I thought the guys who were playing hard and got us a chance to come back were the guys I was going to stick with."


A headline sampler from Monday's sports sections:

New York Daily News: "ON THE BRINK."

New York Post: "UH-OH, 3-0."

Newark Star-Ledger: "Strike three."

The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record: "MISSED SHOT."


Here's the lowdown on 3-0 series comebacks: It has never happened in the NBA, but it has in the NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup finals.

The New York Islanders also rebounded to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 1975 playoffs.

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