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Nets Put the Pistons in Double Trouble

May 21, 2003|From Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Down 11 points early in the fourth quarter, the New Jersey Nets needed offense from somebody -- anybody.

Kenyon Martin came through, scoring 14 of his team's 16 points in the comeback run as the Nets rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons, 88-86, Tuesday night and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

"I didn't have a great three quarters, so I wanted to come out in the fourth quarter and be aggressive and attack the rim," said Martin, who had 16 of his 25 points in the final period, in which the Nets once trailed, 69-58. "I got a couple of calls, a couple of shots fell for me. I got my team back into the game."

The Nets head home for Thursday's Game 3 with history on their side. Only two NBA teams have won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home.

As for the Pistons, they were left to regret another blown fourth-quarter lead. Another two-point loss. Another last-second shot that didn't go in, this time by Chauncey Billups.

"Forget the last play," Coach Rick Carlisle said. "It shouldn't come down to the last play when you have a lead in the fourth like we did. We just made too many careless mistakes down the stretch: turnovers, defensive mistakes, a technical foul. We just did things you just can't do at this stage of the playoffs."

Richard Jefferson's two free throws with 48 seconds left were the winning points, but the Pistons had two chances to tie or win. Corliss Williamson missed a short hook with about 30 seconds left, and Billups missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

New Jersey has won eight straight playoff games, including five in a row on the road.

Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 24 points. Jason Kidd had 20 points for the Nets.

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