Comeback too late for Nets

Sunday, January 9, 2005

— Jason Kidd couldn't put the New Jersey Nets over the top after leading a frantic fourth-quarter comeback.

Kidd scored 22 points -- 15 in the fourth quarter -- and had 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the 60th career triple-double, but the Nets fell short in a 104-101 loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

"The triple-double doesn't mean much unless you win," Kidd said.

Orlando took a 19-point on Hedo Turkoglu's 3-pointer with 10:11 remaining.

That's when Kidd, in the throes of a terrible shooting night, took control.

He responded with the first of his four 3-pointers, kicking off an outburst that saw New Jersey score 34 points in 9 1/2 minutes. His final 3 cut it to 101-99 with 10 seconds remaining.

Before the run, Kidd had missed 12 of 15 shots, including four 3-pointers.

"I put my teammates in a bad situation," Kidd said. "I took a lot of shots and they all felt good, but they were short or long."

After the Nets fouled, Mobley's free throws put the Magic back up by four. He made six foul shots in the final 26 seconds.

Kidd's last 3-point try of the night was off, and a free throw by Hill with 6.4 seconds left iced the game.

"We showed a lot of determination and grit putting ourselves in a position where it could go either way," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't get the job done."

Grant Hill led the Magic with 22 points, and Turkoglu and Cuttino Mobley both scored 19.

Jason Collins added a career-best 20 points for the Nets and also had nine rebounds. Richard Jefferson scored 17 points, and Vince Carter had 16 for the Nets, who have lost two of three.

For the Magic, Steve Francis had 16 and nine assists, and Dwight Howard recorded his 11th double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Orlando's winning streak matches its season best. In the victories, the Magic surrendered an average of 93 points on 40-percent shooting.

"Our guys renewed our commitment to defense," Orlando coach Johnny Davis said. "We don't want to go into a game thinking of outscoring the other team. We need t go into a game thinking about ways to interrupt what opponents do on the offensive end, which will lead to things on our offensive end that will be good for us."

Added Turkoglu: "Right now, we're playing good defense and sharing the ball on offense. We've learned right now how we're going to win, and that's important."

Notes: Both teams set season lows for turnovers -- New Jersey with six and Orlando with 10. ... Orlando center Kelvin Cato returned after sitting out two games with a sprained left ankle. He had eight points and seven assists. ... Nets forward Brian Scalabrine (strained left hamstring) did not make the trip. He hasn't played since Dec. 22. ... New Jersey also was without center Jabari Smith (flu). ... The Nets have played 10 sets of back-to-backs, going 10-10 -- seven wins on the first night, seven losses on the second.