Wednesday , Apr , 21 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Martin and Nets take 2-0 lead in Tunnel Series

=== Martin and Nets take 2-0 lead in Tunnel Series ===

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Kenyon Martin scored 22 points and
pulled down 16 rebounds, as the New Jersey Nets rolled to a 99-81 victory over
New York in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at
Continental Airlines Arena.

Richard Jefferson netted 20 points and Jason Kidd contributed 15 points,
six boards and eight assists for New Jersey, which leads the best-of-seven
matchup, 2-0. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Kerry Kittles had 16 points and Rodney Rogers added 12 for the Nets, who have
won 12 consecutive playoff contests versus Eastern Conference opponents.

“I think they were aggressive, but I don’t think they were more physical,”
said Martin.

Stephon Marbury paced New York with 23 points. Kurt Thomas chipped in 18
points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks. Anfernee Hardaway collected 13 points
and 10 assists in the loss.

“For us right now, our mind-set totally has to change,” Marbury said.

New York forward Tim Thomas missed the game due to multiple muscle contusions
in his lower back. He was flagrantly fouled by New Jersey’s Jason Collins in
the fourth quarter of Game 1 and needed to be helped off the floor by
teammates.

The Nets scored the first seven points of the second quarter, including
five by Rogers, to increase their advantage to 33-24.

After the Knicks cut the deficit to 36-31, New Jersey countered with a 14-2
burst to grab a 17-point lead with 2:31 remaining in the period. Kidd and
Martin each had four points during the surge.

The Nets eventually carried a 52-39 advantage into the locker room. Kidd and
Martin ended the first half with 12 points apiece. Marbury led New York in the
opening 24 minutes with 18 points.

Martin’s three-point play with 10:18 left in the third quarter capped a 7-0
run to begin the period and staked New Jersey to a 59-39 advantage. The margin
was still 20, before the Knicks went on a 13-3 run, highlighted by eight
points from Thomas, to pull within 66-56 with just over three minutes
remaining in the stanza.

Rogers then drained a three-point shot and followed with a layup to restore a
15-point cushion. The Nets held a 72-59 lead after 36 minutes.

The Knicks got no closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter and fell behind
by as many as 22. Kittles’ three-pointer with 2:25 left made it 99-77.

The Nets used a 13-2 spurt in the first quarter, capped by Kidd’s four-point
play, to take an 18-9 lead. New York responded with a 15-6 run, keyed by 10
points from Marbury, to even the contest at 24-24.

Martin converted a slam dunk in the closing seconds of the period to give New
Jersey a two-point edge after 12 minutes.

These two teams have met twice before in the postseason with New York
capturing a pair of first-round victories.

NJ NY