for this game

Kidd's triple-double helps Nets defeat Cavaliers

May 13, 2007 - 2:13 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets used Jason Kidd's 11th career playoff triple-double to get back in their playoff series.

Kidd had 23 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists as the Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 96-85, in Game Three of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Saturday.

Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson each scored 23 points and Mikki Moore added 11 for New Jersey, which made 8-of-18 3-pointers and finally outrebounded Cleveland after getting crushed on the boards in Games One and Two - both losses. Kidd also made a playoff career-high five 3-pointers on his six attempts.

The Nets had 42 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end, compared to 30 and five for the Cavaliers. In the first two games, Cleveland destroyed New Jersey on the glass, hammering them, 100-69, overall and 39-12 on the offensive side.

"Our initial defense in terms of our containment was better," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You have to give Mikki, Twin (Jason Collins) and Richard, the guys in the trenches, credit. (It was) a more concerted effort. Our guys did a good job of hitting the offensive boards. To get 11 for us was promising."

Kidd's 11th postseason triple-double moved him past Larry Bird on the all-time list. Only Hall of Famer Magic Johnson with 30 has more in postseason play.

"He's tremendous," Frank said. "From his intensity, his ability to attack the paint, his will. ... the triple-double is a tangible thing, but he was great on both ends. As the captain, he set the tone."

"Kidd's a special player," Cavaliers superstar LeBron James said. "When you play on the same floor as a guy who is one of the greats, it's special. You should appreciate it. He was very aggressive - shooting, rebounding, passing. He was not second-guessing his shots. Every time he got the ball, he was looking to score, and to pass second. It really hurt us."

New Jersey also took advantage of a poor shooting night by James, who scored 18 points on just 5-of-16 from the floor but added 12 assists. The three-time All-Star had 36 points in the Cavaliers' 102-92 win in Game Two.

"I missed a lot of easy shots I'm capable of making," James admitted.

It also was the first time in 20 playoff games James had failed to score 20 points. Only Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with a streak of 27 consecutive 20-point games, had more to start his postseason career.

Game Four is here on Monday.

After James nailed a 27-foot shot from the arc to cut the Nets' lead to 77-73 with 9:48 remaining, Jefferson capped an 8-0 run with a layup to give New Jersey a 12-point advantage with 4:20 left.

"We didn't close out our possessions (at 77-73)," said Larry Hughes, who led Cleveland with 23 points. "I had a decent look or two. I made a bad pass. It hurts when you turn the ball over in a game that close."

Carter, who left late in the third quarter with a hand injury but returned early in the fourth, had four points in the burst, while Moore added a vicious slam dunk off a pass from Jefferson.

"Individually and help-style, guys really stepped it up defensively," Carter said. "Guys made the extra effort to be in the right places and help each other."

"At that point, there was five or six minutes left, and that's where we've been the two games previous," Kidd said. "It was not time to duck and hide. We had to be aggressive and force the tempo, trying to get into the paint."

New Jersey held Cleveland scoreless for 5:41 over that stretch.

"We cut it to four on the road with plenty of time left, but we just didn't execute," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We could not put points on the board.

"Kidd was a monster. To go 5-for-6 from the 3-point line, that really opened up the game for them. He stepped it up, he was aggressive, he scored for them, he got them easy looks, and he also rebounded."

Kidd - who shot 8-of-12 from the field - had six points, four assists and four rebounds for the Nets, who took a 22-15 lead entering the second period. Carter also had six points, including a 16-foot jumper to help New Jersey to a 20-9 lead with 5:18 left in the quarter.

However, after Kidd sank his third 3-pointer with 6:37 left in the half to put the Nets up, 37-25, Cleveland went on a 13-0 run capped by Larry Hughes' jumper from the right elbow with three minutes remaining to give the Cavaliers their first lead at 38-37.

Kidd scored five more points in the quarter to help the Nets take a 45-43 halftime lead. Kidd, Carter, Jefferson and Moore had consecutive baskets in the opening 2:25 of the second half as the Nets extended the advantage to 10.

Drew Gooden scored 12 for Cleveland, which shot 41 percent (29-of-70) and suffered its first loss in seven playoff games. The setback also ended a 10-game winning streak dating to the regular season.

"We understood they were going to come out and be real aggressive, coming home down 0-2," Hughes said. "We're going into Monday's game with an opportunity to win."


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