for this game

Kidd's breakout performance leads Nets over Raptors

Apr 28, 2007 - 4:32 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd showed the Toronto Raptors how to make history.

Kidd collected 16 points, 16 rebounds and a career playoff-high and franchise-record 19 assists, and Vince Carter scored 37 points as the New Jersey Nets raced to a two-games-to-one lead with a 102-89 victory over the Raptors.

Kidd tied Larry Bird for second all-time with his 10th career playoff triple-double, 20 behind leader Magic Johnson.

"I still don't know what I accomplished," Kidd said, downplaying the importance of his statistical achievement. "As a team, I know we accomplished winning the game."

The star point guard also equaled the 18th-best single-game playoff assist total in league history, falling five short of the all-time mark set by Johnson and John Stockton.

Battling a sore left knee that required significant treatment during the two-day hiatus following Game Two, Kidd showed no ill effects in joining Wilt Chamberlain and Lafayette "Fat" Lever as the only players in playoff history to post over 15 points, assists and rebounds in a single game.

Lever had been the last to do it, just shy of 22 years ago.

Kidd is averaging 12.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 13.7 assists through the first three contests of the first-round series, which continues here Sunday evening.

"I think (the injury) helps me focus in that you might not be as fast, but (you have to make better decisions)," Kidd said.

Richard Jefferson added 18 points for New Jersey, which pushed the tempo all night, forcing Toronto to stop its wing players on the fast break. As a result, the Nets shot 53 percent (41-of-78) from the field - capitalizing on easy dunks and transition layups.

Kidd's health was in doubt until the early afternoon. He injured the knee early in Game Two while attempting to draw an offensive foul, but remained in the game.

Kidd torched the Raptors' defense with his trademark passing skills in the open court. With Carter and Jefferson running the floor, he had Toronto at his mercy.

"Not only did he have a triple-double, but he almost had a 20-20-20 deal, which is remarkable," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "With Jason, in terms of his knee, as soon as he puts that uniform on, you know you are going to get his best effort."

On the other end, he also played a large role in holding Raptors star Chris Bosh to 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting. Point guard T.J. Ford scored a career playoff-high 27 points as a result.

"Jason came over for the double-teams and they didn't pay attention to T.J., Bosh said. "That surprised me a lot."

Ford and backup Jose Calderon carried most of the offensive load for Toronto. Calderon made all six of his shots from the field, scoring 12 points in just 16 minutes, while Anthony Parker added 14.

"Our two point guards were our best players on offense, which is not good for us," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "I don't know. Maybe it's something about this building. (Bosh) hasn't played well here."

As he did in Game Two, Mitchell benched starting forward Joey Graham for lackadaisical defense.

"If guys don't get back on defense for Game Four, they're not going to play," Mitchell said.

Kidd highlighted his monster performance in the fourth quarter, running down the lane on the break and flipping the ball behind his back to a trailing Carter, who threw down an emphatic jam over Raptors rookie Andrea Bargnani to make it 94-79 with 6:03 left.

Just over a minute earlier, Kidd's blind pass in the open floor to Jefferson was the cause of a tense moment for the Nets. Jefferson swooped to the rim but was clotheslined by Raptors guard Morris Peterson, nearly sparking a fight.

Nothing could dampen the stellar night, though, for New Jersey, which also got a much-needed breakout performance by Carter. The high-flying swingman entered Friday's contest averaging 17.5 points on just 13-of-43 shooting in the series against his former team.

He turned it around in Game Three, nailing 15-of-23 shots from the field. Kidd was 7-of-14 and Jefferson 5-of-11 from the floor.

Toronto fell behind early, allowing New Jersey to reel off a 20-7 run to open the game. Carter keyed the outburst with nine of his 13 first-quarter points.

The Nets twice stretched the lead as high as 21 points, including a 56-35 bulge 2:08 before halftime. The Raptors managed to close the gap, but never really threatened in getting within eight points on a 3-pointer by Bargnani early in the fourth quarter.

"Every time we made a little run, Kidd made a play," Mitchell said. "We just have to regroup."

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