Sunday, February 1, 2004

Martin leads Nets' rally


NBA roundup

The Associated Press

HOUSTON - The New Jersey Nets took turns pulling themselves back into the game.

Kenyon Martin scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half and Richard Jefferson added a surge to help the Nets overcome a slow start for an 88-77 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday, giving Lawrence Frank a 3-0 record as interim coach.

Frank is unbeaten since replacing Byron Scott on Jan. 26, and the Nets have won four in a row overall.

"We come in waves, go with the hot hand," Jefferson said. "Jimmy (Jackson) got in foul trouble and we were trying to go at him. We were intense the first half. We just weren't hitting shots.

"We were shooting 30 percent and they were shooting 60 percent."

Martin started pulling the Nets back with 15 third-quarter points, including an alley-oop slam that gave the Nets their first lead of the game at 49-48.

Martin scored the Nets' final six points of the quarter for a 66-60 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Nets took the lead for good at 72-71 on a pair of free throws by Martin with 7:20 to play.

"We started missing shots and they got into transition some," Maurice Taylor said. "Once they start running, they're a tough team to beat."

Jefferson had seven of his points in the final five minutes when the Nets pulled away.

"Our defense was great," Martin said. "Our game plan was to get the ball inside and I really got things rolling. Our defense made big stops in the second half and we dictated the tempo and made Houston do the things we wanted them to do."

Steve Francis led the Rockets with 26 points, and Cuttino Mobley added 13.

Nuggets 107, Mavericks 102

DALLAS - Carmelo Anthony hit a go-ahead 22-footer with 2:22 left, then added four straight free throws in the closing seconds to help Denver rally after being 20 points down with 8:48 left in the third quarter.

After trailing 53-37 at halftime, Denver scored 70 points for the fourth-biggest comeback in team history.

The Nuggets had 38 shots in each half, making 13 before halftime and 25 after.

Knicks 110, Suns 105

NEW YORK - Stephon Marbury scored 33 of his 35 points in the first three quarters against his former team, and some untimely missed free throws by Phoenix helped New York to the victory. Keith Van Horn added 30 points for the Knicks, who led throughout the fourth quarter but couldn't put away the pesky Suns.

Joe Johnson scored a career-high 31 points for the Suns.

Hawks 93, Bucks 83

ATLANTA - Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 21 points and Jason Terry added 19 for Atlanta.

The Hawks, who led by as many as 21 points in the first half, were up 72-53 late in the third period when the Bucks went on a 15-0 run over the next 5:50. Desmond Mason scored five points in the spurt, which cut Atlanta's lead to 72-68 with 7:58 left.

But Boris Diaw's basket broke the dry spell and the Bucks never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

Clippers 115, Magic 106

ORLANDO, Fla. - Marko Jaric scored 23 points, and Quentin Richardson and Elton Brand added 21 for the Clippers.

Magic star Tracy McGrady missed the game to attend his aunt's funeral. McGrady, who averaged 34.2 points the past nine games, is expected back in time for Tuesday's game at Minnesota.

Gordon Giricek, starting in McGrady's place, led Orlando with 20 points.

Pistons 80, Grizzlies 78

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Chauncey Billups hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds left to give Detroit the victory.

The Pistons led by 11 points with three minutes to play, but Memphis' Pau Gasol scored seven points in an 11-0 run, finishing it with a three-point play that tied the game at 78 with 53 seconds to go.

Billups then missed a jumper, but Bonzi Wells shot an airball with 6 seconds left, giving Detroit another chance. Billups' baseline jumper was blocked by Gasol, but a foul was called on Earl Watson.

After Billups made his free throws, Gasol's long pass bounced off the hands of Shane Battier as time expired.

Pacers 99, Celtics 98

INDIANAPOLIS - Ron Artest had 23 points, five steals and a late stop on Paul Pierce to lift Indiana.

Pierce hit a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to cut the Pacers' lead to a point after the Celtics trailed by as many as 13.

A Pacers shot-clock violation turned the ball over to Boston one possession later. The Celtics tried to set up a play for Pierce in the halfcourt after a timeout, but Artest's suffocating defense forced Walter McCarty into a bad pass and prevented Pierce from getting in position for a catch and shoot.

Spurs 85, Jazz 81

SAN ANTONIO - Tim Duncan had 33 points and 14 rebounds to help San Antonio beat Utah for a 15th consecutive win over the Jazz.

Carlos Arroyo's layup with 4 seconds left pulled the Jazz to 83-81, but Manu Ginobili hit two free throws to seal it. Ginobili finished with six points, going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 21 seconds.

Tony Parker added 20 points for the Spurs, 10 in the fourth quarter, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 13. San Antonio has not lost to Utah since Feb. 6, 2000.

Heat 94, Hornets 70

NEW ORLEANS - Eddie Jones scored 24 points to lead Miami.

The Heat finished the game with a 22-4 run and held the Hornets to their lowest point total of the season. New Orleans was limited to 74 three times.

Udonis Haslem scored 20 points for Miami, Lamar Odom added 12, Caron Butler 11 and Dwyane Wade 10.




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