New Jersey 96; Toronto 87

April 6, 2003 at 10:50 PM
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TORONTO, April 6 (UPI) -- Kenyon Martin scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Sunday as the New Jersey bounced Toronto, 96-87.

With the win, the Nets captured the season series from the Raptors for the first time in five years, and also moved into a tie with Detroit for first place in the Eastern Conference.

"I wanted to see what I could do, and it felt good once I got going," said Martin, who shot 10-of-21 from the field. "It's been tough sitting around, so it felt good to come out and contribute."

"He was big down low and defensively," said New Jersey point guard Jason Kidd. "He's been out, so for him to come out and get some of the rust off and look as good as he did is a big plus for us."

Martin had missed three games with a sprained right knee and was listed as questionable right until game time, but returned in time to lead New Jersey to its third straight victory in a series that concludes at Continental Airlines Arena on April 12.

The Nets, who have won five of their last six meetings with the Raptors overall, took the season series for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign, when they won three of the four meetings between the teams.

"This win was huge," Martin said. "It's very important in terms of controlling the East. Detroit has some tough games, so we needed to come up here and get a win."

Richard Jefferson added 16 points and Lucious Harris, who also sat out the past three contests with a sprained left ankle, contributed 15 for New Jersey, which has won six of its past seven.

Vince Carter led Toronto with 28 points, but twisted his left ankle with 31 seconds left. Carter went up for a turnaround jumper and came down awkwardly.

"It looks like a bad sprain," said Toronro Coach Lenny Wilkens.

"We watched it on the replay, and he comes down and catches his foot on the side of Richard Jefferson's foot and turns it. You can see that he turned it pretty good."

Morris Peterson contributed contributed 18 points, and Alvin Williams had 10 and eight assists as the Raptors lost for the 13th time in their last 17 games. They shot 41.5 percent (34-of-82) from the flooor, including 5-of-14 from three-point range, and were outscored, 33-14, on fast break points.

"In the second half, we just stayed patient," said Kidd, who had just five points, but dished out 13 assists and pulled down six rebounds. "They made a run at us, but we executed and got good shots. Make or miss, we had good shots, and we didn't turn the ball over, and that's what you have to do to be successful in the playoffs."

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