Sunday, February 29, 2004

Nets' Martin blocks it to 'em

Last-minute play clinches win vs. Heat

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Kenyon Martin made an incredible last-minute block, catching a late shot by a driving Dwayne Wade to help the New Jersey Nets get back on track with 92-86 win over the Miami Heat on Saturday,

New Jersey Nets' Richard Jefferson (right) celebrates with Kenyon Martin after Martin blocked a shot late in the fourth quarter.
(AP photo)
"To not only block it, but to catch it with his chest is amazing," Nets point guard Jason Kidd said after the Nets bounced back from their first loss under Lawrence Frank to win for the 15th time in 16 games.

"It was one of those Bill Russell-type plays, his idol, keeping the ball in play after blocking it," Kidd added. "He's learning to not just block it, but turn it into an offensive play."

Kidd hit two free throws with 21.1 seconds to play to give New Jersey an 88-85 lead. Miami then called a time out to set up a play.

Guarded by Kidd, Wade drove around the top of the key and came down the right side of the lane, putting up a floater. Martin came off his man and caught the shot in mid air for a block that could have been considered a steal.

"I was just coming to help," said Martin, who also added 18 points and 15 rebounds. "I knew he was going to shoot it."

Wade never saw Martin coming.

"It was a great athletic play," the rookie from Marquette said. "He went and got it. He has unbelievable jumping ability. He could do it more often if he wanted to. It was a great athletic play."

It was also smart. Martin has a tendency to show off, and his blocks usually end eight to 10 rows deep among the fans.

"That was one of the most amazing plays I have ever seen," added Richard Jefferson, who led the Nets with 25 points.

Kerry Kittles added two free throws with 13.4 seconds to go and the Heat never had another chance to tie the game.

Jason Kidd had four free throws in the final 21.2 seconds to cap a 20-point effort in helping the Nets' rally from a 10-point halftime deficit.

The win was the Nets' 14th in 15 games since Frank replaced Byron Scott as coach of the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions in late January.

Spurs 117, Nuggets 92

SAN ANTONIO - Tony Parker picked up the slack for the injured Tim Duncan, scoring a season-high 29 points for San Antonio. Duncan, on the injured list because of irritation in a joint in his leg, will be reevaluated next week.

Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 26 points, 20 in the first half.

Mavs 111, Trail Blazers 91

DALLAS - Antoine Walker had 25 points and eight rebounds, Steve Nash added 22 points and 11 assists and Dallas extended its winning streak to five games.

Zach Randolph had 18 points, and Darius Miles and Damon Stoudamire added 16 points each for Portland, which lost at Houston, which completed a four-game road trip over a six-day span.

Grizzlies 97, Hornets 92

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - James Posey, who could only walk through the team's shootaround earlier in the day because of a leg injury, connected on nine of 15 shots and scored 24 points as Memphis finished February with a 10-3 record, the best month in franchise history.

Baron Davis brought the Hornets almost all the way back from 18 points down in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points during an 18-3 run. New Orleans cut the lead to three on several occasions, the last with 28 seconds left.

Lakers 122, Wizards 110

WASHINGTON - Kobe Bryant's first triple-double of the season helped Los Angeles pull away. Bryant finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and came up big for the Lakers in several key moments. He hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to help stop a Wizards' run, and his alley-oop pass to Shaquille O'Neal with 6:30 left in the fourth started an 18-4 run.

Magic 104, Hawks 99

ATLANTA - Tracy McGrady scored 26 of his 30 points before injuring his right ankle and Orlando snapped a two-game losing skid. McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer at 27.6 points per game, was hurt in the third quarter but continued.

Chris Crawford tied his career high with 27 points for Atlanta.

Pacers 81, 76ers 74

INDIANAPOLIS - Jermaine O'Neal had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Al Harrington finished with 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Indiana to its third straight win over Philadelphia this season.

Bulls 87, Warriors 81, OT

CHICAGO - Jamal Crawford scored 27 points and Eddy Curry added 26 points and 14 rebounds as Chicago beat Golden State.

Kirk Hinrich had his first career triple-double, with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bulls.

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