Monday , Mar , 01 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

West is best: Lakers clip Nets

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Shaquille O’Neal poured in 19 points
and ripped down 14 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to an impressive
100-83 victory over New Jersey at Continental Airlines Arena.

Kobe Bryant also posted a double-double in the win for Los Angeles with 11
points and 10 assists, while grabbing six boards. Gary Payton scored 16 points
and Horace Grant came off the bench to net 14, as the Lakers won for the
seventh time in the last eight contests.

Richard Jefferson paced the Nets with 19 points and seven rebounds, as New
Jersey lost for the second time in its last three contests after a 14-game
winning streak. Both losses have come to teams from the Western Conference
after the Nets played only one team from the West during the winning streak.

Kenyon Martin scored 11 points despite being hampered by foul trouble the
entire game. Jason Kidd added 10 points in the losing effort before being
pulled after aggravating a knee injury. He played a season-low 28 minutes.

Martin and Jefferson hit back-to-back jumpers in the first 13 seconds of the
second half to get the Nets within 10 at 49-39.

However, Martin picked up his fourth foul five seconds later and the Lakers
blew it open from there.

Los Angeles outscored New Jersey 26-12 the rest of the quarter to take a
commanding 75-51 advantage after three.

The burst was aided by a pair of three-pointers from Rick Fox and five points
from Bryant, including a fadeaway three from the baseline. O’Neal added four
points, as his thunderous alley-oop slam dunk kick-started the spurt.

“We knew what they were capable of doing offensively, so we wanted to be just
as aggressive offensively,” O’Neal said. “We limited them to one shot on
several possessions and kept them from fast-breaking a lot.”

The Lakers led by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter on Bryon Russell’s 16-
foot jumper for a 92-64 lead with 6:44 to go.

New Jersey never got closer than the final margin.

“The Lakers were the better team tonight,” New Jersey head coach Lawrence
Frank said. “There’s not excuses. It is what it is and that’s a loss.”

Payton scored six points as the Lakers opened with a 12-3 lead 3 1/2 minutes
into the contest. The Lakers led by as much as 11 in the period in building a
26-17 edge after one.

The Nets stayed within eight to nine points early in the second quarter, but
Los Angeles went on a 10-2 run to expand a 33-24 lead into a 43-26 advantage
with 3:23 left until halftime. The run was capped by four points from O’Neal,
as the Lakers kept the lead above double-digits the rest of the quarter in
building a 49-35 lead at the intermission.