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NBA

Nets, Celtics will meet insecond round

By Associated Press
Published May 2, 2003

MILWAUKEE - In the arena formerly home to Milwaukee's "Big Three," the Nets advanced to the second round behind their awesome trio: Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.

The Nets beat the Bucks 113-101 Thursday night to win the series 4-2 behind Kidd's triple double, Martin's 29 points and Jefferson's 16.

"This is the time of year you want your three best playing at their very best," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "And we've got three guys in Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson that are playing exceptional basketball right now.

"If they can keep this pace up and keep playing this way, it's going to be hard to beat us."

Kidd had 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds as the Nets advanced to the second round, where they play the Celtics starting Monday night. The Nets beat the Celtics in the East final last season.

The Bucks had their trio of stars until they broke up the team, shipping Glenn Robinson to Atlanta before the season and Ray Allen to Seattle 21/2 months ago.

That left only Sam Cassell, who had one of the worst playoff performances of his career, managing four shots and five points as the Bucks trailed by as much as 22.

Milwaukee was down 88-70 heading into the fourth, and the best the Bucks could do was cut the deficit in half - 99-90 on a basket by Gary Payton with 51/2 minutes left.

Payton, the All-Star point guard acquired on Feb. 20 in the trade for Allen, led the Bucks with 24 points.

CELTICS 110, PACERS 90: Host Boston put together a devastating quarter - one game later than it would have liked, but just in time to advance to the second round.

Two days after being shut out in overtime, the Celtics opened an 18-point first-quarter lead and coasted to win the series 4-2.

Paul Pierce scored 27 and had eight rebounds, and Antoine Walker scored 21 for Boston, which missed the playoffs for six consecutive years before last season.

Eric Williams had 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench, and Walter McCarty scored 13, sinking 3-pointers on the first two shots of the game as the Celtics got off to a scorching start.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 25 and had 19 rebounds for Indiana before he was ejected.

Indiana's Reggie Miller, who scored eight Thursday and shot 28 percent in the series, said after the game that he will have surgery on both ankles and prepare to become a free agent.

LAKERS 101, WOLVES 85: Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 31 in the first six minutes of the fourth, and Shaquille O'Neal had 24 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists.

The three-time defending champion Lakers have won 13 straight playoff series under Phil Jackson, and Jackson-coached teams have won an NBA record 25 in a row.

Derek Fisher scored 16, Devean George added 12 points and eight rebounds and Robert Horry had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

Kevin Garnett scored 18 and had 12 rebounds, and Troy Hudson also had 18 points for the Timberwolves.

The Lakers play the Spurs, the West's No. 1 seed, in the second round.

SPURS 87, SUNS 85: Tim Duncan didn't score like an MVP, but he played like one as visiting San Antonio advanced to the second round.

Duncan shot just 4-of-12 for 15 points, but had 20 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career playoff triple double.

Stephen Jackson, playing with a strained tendon in his lower right leg, added 19 points - nine in the fourth quarter. Tony Parker had 17, and Manu Ginobili scored 12 by making 4-of-7 3-pointers - a pair coming in a 12-2 surge that put San Antonio ahead for good midway through the fourth.

Shawn Marion had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Phoenix, but his only points in the fourth came on a 3-point bank shot with 4.4 seconds left and another 3 as the game ended.

MOST IMPROVED: Warriors point guard Gilbert Arenas won the league's Most Improved Player Award.

Arenas claimed a spot among the league's fastest, most exciting players in his second pro season. He got 41 of 118 first-place votes, finishing with 288 points.

Matt Harpring, who emerged as a dependable scorer in his first season with the Jazz, was second with 234 points.

Arenas had career highs of 18.3 points, 6.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds this season.

HEAT: Alonzo Mourning expects doctors to clear him to play next season after he missed 2002-03 because of kidney disease, agent Jeffrey Wechsler said. "When he gets the okay from the doctors, he'll be clear to play next season," Wechsler said.

RAPTORS: Forward Antonio Davis is recovering after surgery on his right knee and ankle.

WARRIORS: Guard Jason Richardson faces up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines on a charge he assaulted his former girlfriend in Saginaw Township, Mich.

WNBA: Center Lisa Leslie signed a new contract with Los Angeles, a deal that reportedly will keep her with the two-time defending champion Sparks for four more years. The Los Angeles Times said Leslie signed for the league maximum of $85,000 a season.

In other news, Indiana traded Sylvia Crawley and first-round draft pick Gwen Jackson to San Antonio for three-time All-Star Natalie Williams and first-round pick Coretta Brown.

[Last modified May 2, 2003, 02:31:39]


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