Guards clash in Nets win

By wire services
Published January 2, 2005

NEW YORK - Jason Kidd had the pass of the night, an off-the-backboard, alley-oop feed that Vince Carter dunked, and the New Jersey Nets defeated the New York Knicks and their self-proclaimed "best point guard in the NBA" 93-87 Saturday night.

Kidd didn't outplay point guard counterpart Stephon Marbury, who made that bold declaration the previous day at practice.

Marbury had 31 points, eight assists and four rebounds to Kidd's 12 points, three assists and four rebounds, but the Nets led throughout the final three quarters and did what they usually do against their cross-river rivals, beating the Knicks for the 17th time in 20 meetings.

Carter, who assumed the playmaking duties for a large part of the fourth quarter, had 16 points, five assists and six rebounds, while Richard Jefferson had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Nazr Mohammed added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Marbury's statement was the talk of Madison Square Garden prior to tipoff.

"Don't get me wrong, I love Jason Kidd, he is a great point guard," Marbury said. "(But) how am I comparing myself to him when I think I'm the best point guard to play basketball? That makes no sense. I can't compare myself to somebody when I already think I'm the best. I'm telling you what it is. I know I'm the best point guard in the NBA."

Kidd spoke only briefly with reporters before tipoff, joking that he would be just the third-best point guard in the building, ranking himself behind Marbury and Kidd's son, 6-year-old T.J.

Jefferson was more verbose in his response to Marbury's declaration.

"John Stockton never said he was the best point guard in the NBA. Michael Jordan, I don't recall too many times him saying he was the best player, Magic Johnson. You know, not too many guys come out and say they're the best," Jefferson said. "J-Kidd has been the No. 1 point guard in the NBA for as long as I've been here and never once has he said he's the best."

HEAT 113, BOBCATS 90: Dwyane Wade used an array of dunks and a spectacular blind over-the-shoulder flip to score 26 points and lead the Heat to their 14th straight win. Wade made 11 of 16 shots and added nine assists for the Heat, who have the NBA's longest winning streak this season. Miami turned the game into a blowout with a 27-12 third-quarter burst. Shaquille O'Neal added 16 for Miami.

Around the league

MAGIC ACTIVATE CATO: Center Kelvin Cato, who missed 10 games with a dislocated shoulder, was activated from the injured list and forward Michael Bradley was placed on the injured list because of a strained hamstring. Cato is averaging 7.7 points and 8.9 rebounds in 14 games.

GOLDEN STATE: Guard Jason Richardson sat out against the Blazers because of a sprained left ankle. Richardson was injured during practice on Friday and is day-to-day. X-rays of his ankle were negative.

GRIZZLIES: Forward Brian Cardinal was activated and forward Ryan Humphrey went on the injured list.

KNICKS: Penny Hardaway was activated after missing 14 games because of a strained right hamstring.