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Updated: Sunday, December 1, 2002 2:34 AM EST
NBA RECAP
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New Jersey 93, Portland 86
NEW JERSEY NETS
New Jersey Nets
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PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Portland Trail Blazers
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PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- Once again, Jason Kidd bailed out the New Jersey Nets.

Kidd hit two big jumpers and a pair of free throws in the final 74 seconds as the Nets squandered a 25-point lead with less than 15 minutes remaining but outplayed the Portland Trail Blazers down the stretch in a 93-86 victory.

New Jersey, which trailed by 13 points early in the second quarter, stormed back to take a 45-41 halftime lead and extended the advantage to 75-50 on a 3-pointer by Rodney Rogers with 2:40 to play in the third quarter.

Portland climbed within 77-57 heading to the final period and, led by Damon Stoudamire, Arvydas Sabonis and Zach Randolph, tied it at 84-84 on a 3-pointer by Stoudamire with 2:24 remaining.

Richard Jefferson put New Jersey back on top with a pair of free throws 13 seconds later. Jason Collins sank 1-of-2 from the line with 1:45 left before Randolph made a follow layup to make it 87-86 with 1:23 to go.

But Kidd eluded a steal attempt by Randolph along the left sideline and nailed a baseline jumper with 1:14 left, then hit a fadeaway jumper over Stoudamire to give the Nets a 91-86 edge with 38 seconds to play. Kidd capped the scoring with a pair from the line with 22 seconds remaining.

"Portland got real aggressive, on the offensive end, especially," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "I thought we weren't as aggressive on the defensive end as we were in the first three quarters. Every team in this league is going to make a run. But we did a good job of withstanding it and got a very much-needed win."

"We made a good run at the end and played hard," Randolph said. "We left it all out on the court. We made a couple mental mistakes at the end, but we'll be back in practice tomorrow and be ready for the next game."

It was the Nets' first road victory over the Blazers since January 30, 1995, a span of six losses. New Jersey is just 4-24 all-time in Portland.

"It was like the tale of two games," Blazers coach Mo Cheeks said. "We played well in the first quarter and then they took control of the game in the second and third quarters. The second unit got us back in the game. I guess you could call that a moral comeback. (But it was) too little, too late."

Kidd had 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting for the Nets, who improved to 2-2 on a five-game road trip. Jefferson added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

"Every guy on this team will give up the ball," Jefferson said. "I've got to go out there and score and be more offensive-minded. Coach put the challenge on us to go out there and get more rebounds. I had my first double-double of my career the last couple of games."

The Nets made 26-of-31 free throws, while the Blazers connected on just 10-of-20.

"The last two games, we just weren't able to close it out," Scott said. "We weren't able to make the big shot. We weren't able to make free throws the last couple of games, and tonight we did. The ball bounced our way a little bit and we made some big shots. We kept our composure tonight a little bit better than we did the past two games."

The Nets were playing without Dikembe Mutombo (sprained right wrist) and lost Kerry Kittles to a bruised knee in the third quarter.

Kenyon Martin scored 11 points but fouled out with 5:40 remaining and New Jersey ahead by just five points.

"They made that run in the fourth and we did what we had to do in order to win the game," Martin said. "The last couple of games it's been rough. I sat the last five minutes and it's been rough the last few games."

Bonzi Wells led Portland with 20 points but did not play during the fourth-quarter comeback. Stoudamire scored 14 points in just 16 minutes.

"I thought Damon really played great," Cheeks said. "We needed someone to make shots. With 14 points in 16 minutes, he made some shots. At one point, I pulled him aside and said, `I hope we win this game, but if we don't, I'm still really proud of you.'"


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