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Updated: Saturday, January 4, 2003 11:26 PM EST
NBA RECAP
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New Jersey 88, Orlando 83
NEW JERSEY NETS
New Jersey Nets
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ORLANDO MAGIC
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ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- There seems to be no slowing down Kenyon Martin and the New Jersey Nets.

Martin had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double to lead the Nets to their ninth straight victory, an 88-83 triumph over the Orlando Magic.

Jason Kidd added 15 points and 12 assists for the Nets, who have overtaken Indiana for the best record in the Eastern Conference and are the hottest team in the NBA. They are two shy of the club record for consecutive wins, set in the 1982-83 season.

While the Nets have picked up their play, so has Martin. The third-year forward is averaging 20.8 points and 11 rebounds over his last four games and tormented the smaller Magic on the boards in this one.

"They're kind of undersized," Martin said. They had four small guys and we took advantage of that."

Working primarily against Pat Garrity, Martin scored eight points in a third-quarter run that helped New Jersey turn a tie game into a 67-54 lead.

Lucious Harris scored 14 points and Richard Jefferson added 13 for the Nets, who swept a pair of games in Florida to open their four-game road trip. They have beaten the Magic five straight times.

"We're just trying to play well," Martin said. "We're playing well at home but not on the road. We're just trying to put it together."

"Taking it on the road is a big test for us as a team," Nets guard Kerry Kittles said. "We have to step up to the challenge and figure out ways to win, learn how to play smarter on the road. Hopefully we can continue to do that."

Tracy McGrady had 30 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Magic, who rallied after coach Doc Rivers was ejected late in the third quarter. However, Orlando managed just one basket in the final 4:52 and dropped its second straight game.

"It was a very comfortable and peaceful place where I was sitting the last quarter and probably the best place for me," Rivers said. "When I got thrown out of the game, I think we ended up getting down 18 points. Most teams would decide to quit. Our team made a choice to keep playing."

Orlando shot a franchise record-low eight free throws while New Jersey shot 36.

A basket by Jacque Vaughn pulled Orlando into a 46-46 tie early in the third quarter before New Jersey took control. Martin scored eight points in a 21-8 surge that Harris capped with an 18-footer for a 67-54 lead with 4:11 to go.

With the Magic trailing by 14 points with 1:19 left, Rivers was ejected with his second technical foul after arguing that McGrady was fouled when he was stripped of the ball. He charged toward referee Ken Mauer and mockingly clapped at the referee's performance before leaving the floor.

Kidd slapped a long rebound forward, leading to a dunk by Kerry Kittles. On the next possession, Kidd threw a behind-the-back pass through traffic that set up a dunk by Aaron Williams for a 77-59 lead.

"Tonight was another game that we came out and took control and kept control for pretty much the whole game," Kidd said.

But the Nets went scoreless for the first four minutes of the final period. Garrity and Mike Miller made 3-pointers around a jumper by Kidd, making it 84-79 with 4:52 to go.

"They came out and made a couple shots in the fourth quarter and got back in the game," Martin said. "We tried to make it interesting."

Two free throws by McGrady made it a three-point game at the 3:09 mark, but Jefferson made a baseline jumper 19 seconds later.

On Orlando's next three possessions, Miller missed a runner and McGrady missed a jumper and traveled. A free throw by Kidd gave New Jersey an 87-81 lead with 41 seconds remaining.

Williams scored 10 points for the Nets, who overcame 40 percent shooting (31-of-78) with a 47-37 rebounding edge.

"When you give up 18 (offensive) boards and one team shoots 36 free throws and the other team shoots eight, it's tough to win a basketball game," Rivers said.

Darrell Armstrong scored 14 points and Miller added 11 for the Magic, who played without forward Grant Hill for the fourth consecutive game (ankle soreness). They shot 43 percent (35-of-81).


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