Thursday , Mar , 11 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Kidd returns as Nets squeak out win

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Kenyon Martin collected 28 points and
nine rebounds to lift the New Jersey Nets to a 98-97 win over the Denver
Nuggets at Continental Airlines Arena.

Richard Jefferson added 26 points for his third-straight 20-plus point game,
and Jason Kidd returned to the New Jersey lineup after missing four games with
a bone bruise in his left knee.

Kidd scored just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting, but dished out 13 assists in
39 minutes, as the Nets continued to alternate wins and losses, as they’ve
done for the last nine games.

“In all aspects Jason is our captain and an MVP player,” New Jersey head coach
Lawrence Frank said. “Just getting him back in there on all levels —
physically, emotionally and even spiritually — he’s our captain. I thought he
looked like himself.”

Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 24 points and Andre Miller chipped in with 22
points and six assists. Marcus Camby scored eight points with a game-high 18
rebounds and three blocks for the Nuggets, who lost for the fourth time in
five games and ninth time in their last 11 overall.

New Jersey led 93-81 with just over four minutes to play when the Nuggets
began to make their move. A 13-3 burst, powered by seven points from Nene, had
the Nuggets down 96-94 with just over a minute to play.

“We starting playing as a team, Anthony said of the surge. “We starting
sharing the ball and everybody started hitting their shots.”

After a Camby block, Earl Boykins had a chance to tie, but his jumper was off
the mark. Martin was fouled at the other end and made both to make it a 98-94
game.

Anthony missed a jumper with 20 seconds left for Denver, and after Kidd missed
two free throws for the Nets, Voshon Lenard hit a three-pointer as the clock
expired to account for the final score.

Martin’s dunk with five minutes to go in the first gave the Nets their biggest
lead of the quarter at 18-13. But Miller ended a 6-0 burst with a layup just
over a minute later to give the Nuggets a one-point lead.

Denver held a slim 27-25 margin after the first 12 minutes.

But the Nets tied the game at 29-29 a minute into the second period, and spent
the rest of the quarter building a lead. The New Jersey advantage reached six
points at 42-36 with four minutes to go in the second.

After going back-and-forth for a while, the Nets scored the final six points
of the half to take a 52-41 lead into the locker room.

Miller had 18 points to lead all scorers at the break, while Martin’s 14 paced
the Nets.

Denver spent most of the third quarter battling to cut into the New Jersey
lead, getting as close as four points at 68-64 on an Anthony finger roll with
3:16 to go in the stanza.

But the Nets used a 9-4 burst to close out the quarter ahead 77-68, and
outscored the Nuggets 11-6 over the first half of the fourth quarter to hold a
88-74 advantage.

DEN NJ