Nets blow past Lakers in NBA Finals rematch

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2002

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A rematch of the NBA Finals was nothing like the original.

Jason Kidd had 27 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as the New Jersey Nets took control early and defeated the struggling Los Angeles Lakers -- the team that swept them in the finals -- 98-71 Thursday night.

The events of last June were still on the minds of the Nets as they played before their first sellout crowd of the season, but New Jersey bore little resemblance to the squad that went down so humbly in the championship series.

The Nets went ahead by 17 in the second quarter and stayed in control the rest of the way, with Kidd hitting a succession of shots late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to prevent the Lakers from getting within striking distance.

''We as a team understand what happened last year, but this was a regular-season game,'' Kidd said. ''Everybody is talking about revenge, but this was more or less trying to protect home court and trying to get off a two-game losing skid.''

The loss dropped the Lakers' road record to 2-12, including 0-6 against teams from the East.

Los Angeles is 10-17 -- the 11th best record in the competitive Western Conference.

''We were talking yesterday about what our position was as a basketball club, how unbelievable it is to think that we could be in 11th place,'' coach Phil Jackson said. ''Someone said: 'We're not an 11th-place team.' And I said 'Yeah, we are, we're an 11th-place team. We have to face that reality. That's exactly what we are.''

Spurs 83, Kings 81

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds as San Antonio spoiled Sacramento's perfect home record and ruined Mike Bibby's return.

Stephen Jackson scored 18 points as the Spurs followed a victory in Seattle by winning in the NBA's toughest road arena one night later.

The Kings had won their first 13 games at Arco Arena.

Bibby missed the Kings' first 27 games after breaking his foot in the preseason, but he got a raucous standing ovation at the first mention of his name at Arco Arena. He hit a long jumper on Sacramento's first possession and finished with 17 points.

Chris Webber had 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Bobby Jackson added 21 points off the bench.

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