Monday 23 February 2004
Last Update 23 February 2004 12:00 am
LOS ANGELES, 23 February 2004 — It is said that winning cures all ills. Just ask Kenyon Martin. Martin shook off an illness to collect 23 points, 13 rebounds four blocks and four steals Saturday night as the New Jersey Nets made franchise history with their 13th straight win, a 97-84 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
The streak is the longest in franchise history, including the glory days in the ABA, when the Nets boasted the legendary Julius Erving and won a pair of championships.
However, the run might have ended had Martin not played through an illness and come up with one of his best all-around games of the season. He scored six points in a 10-0 third-quarter surge that snapped a tie and gave the Nets the lead for good.
“To be truthful, I really didn’t feel well, but I’m here, so I’m going to show up and play,” the All-Star forward said. “I didn’t really play well last night and I didn’t play that many minutes, either. I just wanted to come out and give an effort. I got my second wind and I felt good.”
The Nets pulled away with a 12-2 spurt in the fourth quarter and put coach Lawrence Frank in the record books. Frank has yet to lose in 12 games since replacing the fired Byron Scott, tying the best start by a coach in American pro sports set by Boston Red Sox manager Joe Morgan in 1988. Never a head coach at any level, he has impressed his colleagues.
“They play off their athleticism and they continue to run the floor consistently,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “That’s probably the thing they do best.”
Setting the pace is Jason Kidd, who collected 11 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while limiting fellow All-Star point guard Baron Davis to 7-of-23 shooting.
Kidd helped the Nets tie the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs for the longest winning streak in the league this season. That trio of teams has claimed the last four NBA Finals berths.
“Our mind-set is not about losing, it’s about getting better every game,” Kidd said. “We just try to keep the focus and maintain the tempo.”
Jamal Mashburn totaled 28 points and 13 boards for New Orleans, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Memphis 105, Chicago 98
The visiting Grizzlies (33-22) moved 11 games above. 500 and improved to 8-1 in February — both team marks — as James Posey scored 27 points, including eight free throws in the closing minutes after Memphis almost blew a 23-point lead.
Dallas 97, Houston 88
German juggernaut Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points and 10 boards for the Mavericks, who improved to 24-4 at home. Dallas has won three straight overall and six in a row from Houston.
Miami 97, Denver 81
The surging Heat won their fourth straight game as rookie Dwyane Wade scored 28 points.
Rookie Carmelo Anthony made just 3-of-20 shots for the Nuggets, who were swept on a two-game trip through Florida.
LA Clippers 105, Milwaukee 103
All-Star Michael Redd, an 89 percent foul shooter, missed the first of three potential tying free throws with a tenth of a second to play to deal the Bucks a second straight loss.
Elton Brand scored 31 points for the Clippers, who used a late 13-2 surge to end a five- game road slide.
Portland 105, Boston 84
Zach Randolph scored 12 of his 27 points in a game-opening 22-0 run as the host Trail Blazers won their third consecutive game and handed the reeling Celtics their 12th loss in 13 games.
Golden State 94, Seattle 92
Brian Cardinal had 21 points and nine rebounds, including one that led to Cliff Robinson’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 55 seconds to play, lifting the host Warriors. Seattle All-Star Ray Allen scored just nine points.