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Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Nets’ interim coach wins debut

Jefferson propels New Jersey in Frank’s first game

January 28, 2004

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— Richard Jefferson and the New Jersey Nets made Lawrence Frank's first game as interim coach a success.

Jefferson scored 30 points to lead the Nets to a 94-76 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night.

"It's nice to get a win, but this is the furthest thing about me," Frank said. "This is about the team."

Frank, the 33-year-old former assistant promoted to interim coach after Byron Scott was fired Monday, paced the sideline down to midcourt, flapped his arms and shouted direction the entire game, but he had little to worry about.

"It's step one. Let's get back to playing Nets basketball," Frank said.

They did, at least for a night, against the injury-plagued 76ers.

Jason Kidd, whose mid-December screaming match with Scott weakened the coach's standing in the locker room, had 13 points and 10 assists. Kenyon Martin also scored 13 points.

The Nets opened on a 26-6 run, getting easy alley-oops, reverse layups and fast-break dunks off 11 first-quarter turnovers by the Sixers. Kidd, Martin and Jefferson combined for 22 points in the quarter.

"It was just picking up and getting guys to do things they're not comfortable with doing," Martin said. "We led the fast break and knocked down shots."

The Sixers had four straight turnovers late in the first quarter, including two straight steals in the backcourt by Kerry Kittles.

The Nets had 17 assists on their 18 first-half field goals and finished with 29 assists on 33 baskets.

"The big thing was sharing the ball. It's when we're at our best," Kidd said.

The Nets listened to questions about their supposed new look under Frank before reminding everyone they were coming off a win where they scored 110 points and forced 29 turnovers against Boston.

"Coach Scott was still there for the Boston game, and we played well," Jefferson said. "You can put any kind of spin on it: We came out because we were so happy about Coach Scott being gone. Well, that's not what happened. We played extremely well against Boston. I think it's more this team buckling down and starting to play a little bit better."

While the Nets were sharing the ball, Glenn Robinson wanted more minutes.

Robinson scored only seven points on 2-for-7 shooting in 18 minutes, then complained about getting pulled for good early in the fourth quarter. Robinson said the Sixers were not good enough to win without a healthy starting lineup and needed a dominant center.

Mavericks 118, Sonics 116

Seattle -- Antoine Walker made a 20-footer at the buzzer, lifting Dallas to its ninth straight win. Dirk Nowitzki scored a career-high 43 points, keeping the Mavericks close with a 16-of-22 shooting performance that included a career-high eight three-pointers. Steve Nash scored 19 points, while Walker and Michael Finley each had 17, and Antawn Jamison added 15.

Clippers 102, Bulls 92

Los Angeles -- Corey Maggette scored 28 points, and Elton Brand had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Los Angeles past Chicago, the seventh loss in eight games for the Bulls. It was the Clippers' second wire-to-wire victory this season. Eddie Robinson came off the bench to score 17, and Marcus Fizer scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter for the Bulls.

Suns 89, Hawks 85

Atlanta -- Shawn Marion scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, and Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over Atlanta.

Spurs 77, Knicks 67

New York -- Charlie Ward returned to Madison Square Garden and put the Spurs ahead for good on a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, and San Antonio defeated New York.

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